The Boy Scouts of America have revoked the leadership of gay scoutmaster Geoff McGrath, who started a troop to be “all-inclusive.”
Geoff McGrath, 49, leader of Troop 98 in Seattle, is believed to be the first gay adult to be expelled from the BSA since the organization decided last May to keep gay members but disallow gay adult leaders. McGrath, who has been with his husband for 20 years, started the troop so that he could help bring about a positive change in scouting culture.
“Mostly it’s about ending the silence,” McGrath, a former social worker, told NBC. Including the gay and lesbian issue in the conversation “doesn’t mean drowning out the other issues,” he said.
“It means becoming an equal participant with everyone else. That’s all.”
Before an NBC profile, McGrath says, he was never a target. The BSA essentially agrees.
“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,” BSA spokesman Deron Smith wrote in an email. Until NBC’s inquiry, “he [McGrath] hadn’t deliberately injected it into Scouting in an inappropriate fashion."
“We spoke with Mr. McGrath today and based on the information he provided, the National Council has revoked his registration,” Smith added.
McGrath’s brother and nephew rode their bikes from the northwest to the Boy Scout headquarters in Texas to raise awareness about the issue. Though the BSA officially began allowing gay youth this January, the decision represents a step backwards when it comes to the supposed new era of scouting.
“It’s extremely disappointing to not be fully supported and defended in my membership,” McGrath told NBC News. “They are complaining that the problem [his status as an openly gay man] is a distraction to Scouting and they don’t seem to understand that the distraction is self-inflicted.”
"All gay adults who currently serve as den leaders and Scoutmasters should probably keep it to themselves," McGrath concluded.