SEATTLE, WA, April 2, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have removed a Seattle-area troop leader and banned him from the organization for going public with his homosexuality, in what is thought to be the first such case since the BSA voted to allow openly homosexual youth, but not adults, to join.
Scoutmaster Geoff McGrath, 49, a former Eagle Scout and leader of Troop 98 in Rainier Beach, had his BSA membership revoked Monday after an NBC News reporter contacted the organization seeking comment for a profile the network was doing on “the first openly gay Scoutmaster in the nation.”
It turned out McGrath’s superiors had been unaware he was homosexual, although he had previously been ejected from the Scouts at age 22 after coming out to his troop leaders, is “married” to another man, and has been a vocal critic of BSA policies regarding homosexuals. His brother and nephew even participated in a bike ride from Seattle to BSA headquarters in Irving, Texas to promote homosexual inclusion in scouting.
“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 said in an email to NBC News. “We spoke with Mr. McGrath today and based on the information he provided, the National Council has revoked his registration.”
McGrath admits he broke the rules by going public with his homosexuality, but condemned the BSA’s decision to kick him out. “It’s extremely disappointing to not be fully supported and defended in my membership,” he told NBC News. “They are complaining that the problem [of homosexuality] is a distraction to Scouting and they don’t seem to understand that the distraction is self-inflicted.”
McGrath told NBC News that he never actively hid his homosexuality from BSA officials, and that Troop 98 was started as a homosexual-friendly alternative to more traditional BSA troops. “If you don’t participate, you're not part of the conversation,” said McGrath. “Yelling from the outside is not conversing. So we're on the inside doing good work. Talking about the gay and lesbian issue is not the biggest part of what we do—it's the smallest part. Mostly it’s about ending the silence.”
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McGrath’s troop was chartered just after BSA voted to allow homosexual Scouts, by Rainier Beach United Methodist Church – which performs same-sex “marriages,” and where McGrath is a member. Pastor Monica Corsaro – herself a prominent homosexual activist and Planned Parenthood’s first-ever chaplain – told NBC News she purposely pushed McGrath to lead the troop, even though they both knew it violated BSA policy. She believed that the neighborhood – popular with homosexuals – needed a Boy Scout troop that homosexuals would find welcoming. “I wouldn't have a Boy Scout troop unless we did it this way,” Corsaro said. “This is who we are.”
McGrath told King 5 News he doesn’t believe the BSA didn’t know he was homosexual when they approved his application to lead Troop 98. “They were fully aware of my prior activism,” McGrath claimed.
But Chief Seattle Council spokeswoman Sharon Moulds said McGrath brought his exile on himself by talking to the press about his sexual preferences. In an email to NBC News, she said she objected to McGrath’s choice “to make a public statement about his orientation and use our program as a means to further a personal agenda.”
For his part, McGrath now recommends any other homosexual troop leaders who find themselves tempted to talk about their sexual preferences in public think twice. “All gay adults who currently serve as den leaders and Scoutmasters should probably keep it to themselves,” he told King 5 News.