GREENWICH, Conn. -- Last Thursday, The Greenwich Daily Voice reported that Greg Edelston, a 19-year-old Greenwich native and Eagle Scout, had launched a petition calling on the Greenwich Council to reject the Boy Scouts of America's national policy that bans gay youth and leaders.
According to the website "Scouts for Equality," Greg is one of 5,695 Eagle Scouts in the country calling for this change.
The Greenwich Daily Voice spoke with Greg, a student at Olin College, in a recent phone interview.
The Greenwich Daily Voice : What personally motivated you to start this petition?
Greg Edelston: On a personal level, I have a very close friend from high school who was in my troop and came up through Boy Scouts with me and is now an Eagle Scout who is gay. He was not able to be openly gay in high school because he was afraid that he would be ostracized and kicked out of the Boy Scouts and not become an Eagle Scout.
TGDV: Change.org sent out a mass email supporting your petition. How do you feel about that?
GE: It's incredible. I was just hoping there would be 100 supporters and that would be awesome and I'd bring that before my council. But now we're at 700-something, we're getting press coverage and I think it's going to make the process of change that we need so much easier.
TGDV: I know you've gotten a lot of positive response, but there are some vocal people against this change. What do you say to people who think the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy should stay?
GE: Frankly, I think they're wrong. There was one comment in your article that said "Do you really think it's a good idea to have pubescent boys camping with homosexuals?" That's very presumptuous, because just because they're gay scouts that does not mean they're going to try to pull anything funny. The people against this say sexuality doesn't have a place in scouting. And actually they're right, because it shouldn't be an issue.
Yes, the Boy Scouts are a private organization and have every right to do what they're doing, but that doesn't make it right.
A scout is trustworthy, friendly, courteous and kind. We're taught all these things and it doesn't make sense to hold up all those virtues and then say, "except for some kinds of people."
Edelston joined the Boys Scouts at age 6 as a Tiger Cub. For his Eagle Scout project, he helped to restore the trails on the Pomerance Property in Greenwich. He also worked with the Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation to coordinate "The Great Outdoor Challenge."
To see Greg's petition, click here .
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.