Gay scout leader Geoff McGrath dismissed as his plans to re-open debate on BSA's LGBT policies emerge

Published 02 April 2014
Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America has revoked the membership of a scoutmaster after it emerged that he was planning to publicize himself as the first openly gay scout leader in an effort to re-open the organization's LGBT policy.

The BSA has a well-known policy that it does not permit gay adult leaders. This policy has been maintained despite the organization recently amending another policy to allow gay youth members in its troops. However, even though the organization strictly maintains its ban on gay leaders, it does not have a policy to actively seek out a person's sexual orientation.

Geoff McGrath, 49, was asked by a reverend at his Methodist church in Seattle last year to start a new troop and be a scoutmaster at the Washington state location. However, the BSA was recently made aware of his sexual orientation when it became known that McGrath was planning to release a public statement through NBC News, which was profiling him as the first openly gay scout leader.

"Our policy is that we do not ask people about their sexual orientation," Boy Scouts spokesman Deron Smith, said in a statement to NBC. "And it's not an issue until they deliberately inject it into Scouting in an inappropriate fashion."

McGrath, who is also a software manager, has said he has not sought to hide his sexuality from scouts, their parents or organization officials. However, a BSA spokeswoman for the Seattle chapter said the organization had no knowledge of McGrath's sexuality until NBC News contacted her for the purposes of profiling him as the first openly gay troop leader.

"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," the spokeswoman wrote in an email to Yahoo News.

Even though the BSA's policy on gay adult scout leaders is well-known, McGrath feels that he has been treated unfairly.

"It's extremely disappointing to not be fully supported and defended in my membership," McGrath said, according to The Daily Mail.

Dismissing the BSA's stance that he was looking to further a personal agenda by looking to publicize his sexuality, and that he was inappropriately imposing issues of sexual orientation into the youth organization, McGrath said, "They are complaining that [my status as an openly gay troop leader] is a distraction to Scouting and they don't seem to understand that the distraction is self-inflicted."

McGrath said that he had been hoping his move would force the BSA to re-open its LGBT policy.

However, spokesperson Deron Smith said the Boy Scouts of America has no plans to revisit its policy on gay adults.

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