Boy Scouts Ban Openly Gay Troop Leader
Officials from the Boy Scouts of America acted on their controversial policy Monday and announced they have fired an openly gay leader of a Washington state-based troop after he "deliberately injected" his sexuality into scouting, Seattle’s NBC-affiliate station KING 5 News reports.
Scoutmaster Geoff McGrath, 49, who formerly headed Troop 98 in Rainier Beach, Wash., is reportedly the first openly gay adult to be banned from the BSA since the organization’s officials voted to welcome out scouts but ban out leaders last year, the Washington Post notes.
McGrath found out he was booted from the BSA after being profiled by NBC News this week. He told KING 5 that he learned his membership had been "revoked" when reading the NBC article.
"We expected better," McGrath, who has been married to his partner of 20 years, said. "We played our part in a transparent way and are surprised they wouldn’t back up their decision."
McGrath, an Eagle Scout, filed an application for a new troop last year via Rainier Beach Methodist Church. He said the Seattle neighborhood Troop 98 was soon approved.
"They were fully aware of my prior activism," McGrath told KING 5. "The impact of discrimination has missed them somehow."
He added that gay Scout leaders should remain in the closet.
In an email to NBC News, spokesperson Deron Smith confirmed the BSA’s decision to ban McGrath.
"Our policy is that we do not ask people about their sexual orientation, and it’s not an issue until they deliberately inject it into Scouting in an inappropriate fashion," he wrote. He added that the BSA has no plans of revisiting the organization’s anti-gay policy.
According to Chief Seattle Council leader Sharon Moulds, the BSA officials didn’t learn that McGrath was gay until NBC News contacted them for their profile piece. In an email to NBC, Moulds writes:
"It was then that we became aware of his intentions to make a public statement about his orientation and use our program as a means to further a personal agenda."
Late last year, the BSA decided to drop its ban on gay scouts but remained firm on barring openly gay leaders. The policy has sparked controversy and a number of companies have halted donations to the organization, including Lockheed Martin and Disney World.