Eagle Scout to be forced out after BSA ban on gay leaders
SEATTLE - Twin brothers Liam and August Easton-Calabria earned the coveted Eagle Scout Award on Sunday. Liam, however, will soon be forced to leave the organization as a Boy Scouts of America policy only allows gay youth - not adults - to participate.
The twins are seniors at Nathan Hale High School, and have been boy scouts since they were 11 years old.
"I'd like to say that scouting has provided numerous opportunities to get out of your comfort zone," Liam said.
And while the pair is identical right down to their twenty-two merit badges, they're also very different. Liam is gay, and August is straight.
"I was elected senior patrol leader around the time I came out to my high school," Liam said.
Last May the Boy Scouts of America held a controversial vote that allows gay youth, but not adults, to participate in the organization.
"It was an interesting revelation to see the Boy Scouts come together as a non-inclusive organization," Liam said. "I don't think it's true to the scouting way. I mean, absolutely, scouting should be an inclusive organization."
In April, Boy Scouts of America pulled the charter from Rainer Beach United Methodist Church in Seattle because their scoutmaster, Geoff McGrath, is openly gay.
"It's a really frustrating situation, but I think the more conversations we have the better chance we have of getting it overturned. So props to Geoff McGrath," Liam said.
Liam's sexual orientation has never affected his standing in the Scouts, but on his twenty-first birthday, when he completes his commitment to BSA's Venture Crew, he will no longer be allowed to participate with the Boy Scouts of America.
Some of the twin's best memories are those spent with their father who was also a scout. The pair also say past camping, kayaking and hiking trips with their troop are memories they'll never forget.
Memories Liam says he wants someday with is own children.
"It's really, really important to me, and I'm going to do as much as I can, to see my children in scouting with me involved," Liam said.
Jack Calabria, the boy's father, says the policy is disappointing because he had a wonderful experience participating in scouts with his sons.
KOMO News reached out to the Boy Scouts of America for comment, but did not hear back.