Re: Honorary or Earned???
This is an old thread and I sure hope the OP is over it already, but FWIW...
Think about it from the point of view of the dojocho granting the belt. Would you want some goon out there representing your art with a belt he couldn't live up to? I sure wouldn't.
The only situation where I'd do this would be if I felt the student in question was already performing above his grade level. Then I might do this instead of some sort of formal test.
So take it that way and stop with the angst.