Scout's Honor

The struggle to overturn anti-gay policies of the Boy Scouts of America
Year Released
Film Length(s)
53 mins


Scout's Honor traces the conflict between the anti-gay policies of the Boy Scouts of America and the broad-based movement by many of its members to overturn them.

Featured review

A brilliant and personal account in the sociology of a modern-day civil rights movement, this film offers lessons that few textbooks could ever inspire.
Estelle Freedman
Professor of History, Stanford University


The story is told predominantly through the experiences of a 13-year old boy and a 70-year-old man -- both heterosexual, both dedicated to the Scouts, and both determined to change the course of Scouting history. Their challenge is being waged in their hometown of Petaluma, California -- a place more familiar with agriculture than activism. Yet it is here where they began an international petition drive and media campaign to overturn the BSA's anti-gay policy. "To be physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight," this is the Boy Scout Oath. Since 1910, millions of boys have joined. But until recently, if you wer openly gay, you couldn't. Witness how Steven Cozza, a 13-year-old Boy Scout, launches a grassroots campaign to overturn the ban on gays. Scouting for All is the movement built by Cozza with the help of a long-time Scout leader, community members, and his own family. Also included are the stories of ousted gay Eagle Scouts Tim Curran and James Dale, whose legal cases culminated at the United States Supreme Court where a private organization's right to determine its membership was heard against a state's right to protect the civil rights of gay and lesbian citizens. Moving from Petaluma, California to the Supreme Court, the film chronicles a modern interpretation of the Scouting ideals of courage, citizenship, and honor.


Depicts the bravery of ordinary Americans in the face of obvious and disheartening discrimination. This film moves and educates, informs and incites: it should be required viewing for all incoming university students!
Professor Suzanna Danuta Walters
Director, Women's Studies, Georgetown University
No one, gay or straight, can understand the moral and legal issues raised by the Boy Scouts' exclusion of gay people without viewing Scout's Honor. This is one of the most moving and intelligent documentaries I have ever seen.
Bill Eskridge
Deputy Dean and John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence, Yale Law School
It's not an easy thing to be a heterosexual male standing up for gays, especially at such a young age. As the film illustrates, people automatically assume you must be gay if you're fighting for gay rights. I admire people who take on issues that are not necessarily their own.
Alycia Nicholas
Undergraduate Student, University of Colorado
Scout's Honor offers a vital and dramatic illustration of democracy at the grassroots level. This film should be a regular feature of courses in sociology, politics, and American studies.
Larry Gross
Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California
The faces behind Scout's Honor will strike a chord in every locale and provide enlightening commentary on the growth and future of gay/straight alliances across America.
Kevin Jennings
Executive Director, Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network
Meticulously researched and sensitively presented, Scout's Honor provides historical tracking of how civil rights and social justice issues have moved from the margins to the mainstream. Here viewers see how courts, media, political and social institutions continue to grapple with various perspectives on who can and should be a Boy Scout in contemporary America.
Marguerite J. Moritz
Ph.D., Associate Dean, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Colorado

Awards and Screenings

National PBS Broadcast, P.O.V. series
Audience Award for Best Documentary & The Freedom of Expression Award, Sundance Film Festival
Audience Award for Best Documentary, San Francisco International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Grand Prize Winner for Non Fiction Film, USA Film Festival
Audience Award for Best Documentary, Turin International Film Festival
Best Documentary, Miami Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
Special Mention for Documentary, New Fest: New York's LGBT Film Festival
Special U. S. Congressional Screening for members of Congress, hosted by Representatives Lynn Woolsey (CA) and Barney Frank (MA)
Best Documentary by the Council on Family Relations

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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