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Boy scout becomes first openly gay member to receive Eagle Scout rank

History has been made for the Boy Scouts. After passing a new policy that took hold last month, Pascal Tessier became the first openly gay scout to receive the prestigious honor of being made an Eagle Scout on Monday.

 Jennifer Tyrrell (L) of Bridgeport, Ohio, speaks at a news conference as Pascal Tessier, 16, of Kensington, Maryland, wipes his eyes at a news conference held at the Great Wolf Lodge May 23, 2013 in Grapevine, Texas.
Photo by Stewart House/Getty Images

When it wasn’t sure how the Boy Scout organization was going to handle gay members, Tessier spoke to news media and participated in a public demonstration in favor of allowing gay members, both adult and child.

In the end, it was decided that the National Council of Boy Scouts of America would allow gay youth members to participate, but not gay adults. Tessier, who turns 18 this year, said, “It’s kind of a backhanded acceptance: We accept you for now. It says to you you’re a monster of some sort.”

Zach Wahls, executive director for Scouts of Equality, says Tessier’s achievement will ultimately help them to gain acceptance for gay adult leaders. He notes that as more and more gay children become part of the program and grow into adults, more conservative thinkers will see what good kids and young adults they really are.

During Tessier’s board review—part of the process of becoming an Eagle Scout— Tessier’s troop master, Don Backham, said he was asked how he would feel about Tessier being a scoutmaster in 30 years.

His reply was: “You’ve asked me that question in other boards, and you know I wouldn’t bring you a Scout that wasn’t worthy. In this case, I can tell you I hope more than anything that Pascal is in this seat in 30 years.”

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