April 1, 2014 | by Michael K. Lavers
Boy Scouts remove gay scoutmaster from post

boy scouts, gay news, Washington Blade

The Boy Scouts of America on Monday removed an openly gay Seattle scoutmaster from his position. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Boy Scouts of America on Monday announced the removal of an openly gay Seattle scoutmaster over his sexual orientation.

NBC News reported Geoff McGrath, 49, founded a gay-friendly troop in the Emerald City’s Rainier Beach neighborhood. Seattle’s top Boy Scouts of America official told the network she did not know McGrath was gay in spite of his claims that he never hid his sexual orientation.

“It’s extremely disappointing to not be fully supported and defended in my membership,” McGrath, who is married to his husband of 20 years, 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.”

Deron Smith, a spokesperson for the Boy Scouts of America, defended the decision to ban McGrath from the organization.

“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,” Smith told NBC News in an e-mail. “We spoke with Mr. McGrath today and based on the information he provided, the National Council has revoked his registration.”

The Boy Scouts of America National Council last May voted to partially end its long-standing policy banning openly gay boy scouts. The prohibition of openly gay adult volunteers and scoutmasters remains in place.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

  • We've reached out to the BSA Nationally as well as the Chief Seattle Council locally to see if this rash decision on their part cannot be walked back. Let's work together to find a way through that supports all our kids and brings to an end the idea that we cannot work civilly and in an organized manner for change.

  • This is ridiculous. Reminds me of why I dropped the BSA long ago. They never practiced what they preached-The discrimination must stop; For it is weakness.

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