Church Pledges to Resist BSA’s Demand and Remain Open and Inclusive; Scouts for Equality Deplores Boy Scouts’ Callous Act as a Discriminatory Attempt to put Politics before Boys
In a startling and discriminatory move, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) revoked the charter of Seattle Troop 98 and Pack 98 for its refusal to remove gay Scoutmaster Geoffrey McGrath. The BSA revoked the charter of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church’s (RBUMC), a Seattle church whose two Scouting units serve a neighborhood with few other positive opportunities for local youth.
“The Boy Scouts’ decisions only serve to hurt a group of boys who need the values and leadership of someone like Scoutmaster McGrath,” said Zach Wahls, Executive Director of Scouts for Equality, a national organization dedicated to ending the BSA’s ban on gay members and leaders. “Unfortunately, the BSA’s decision calls into question its commitment to leadership and values by perpetuating an outmoded policy rooted in fear and discrimination. History will show that today’s announcement is a self-inflicted wound.”
The controversy surrounding Troop 98 emerged in March, when an NBC News report on the inclusive troop prompted the BSA to question the sexual orientation of Scoutmaster Geoffrey McGrath. McGrath, abiding by the Scout’s commitment to trustworthiness, acknowledged his sexual orientation to the BSA, which in turn, responded by revoking McGrath’s status as Scoutmaster.
By Scouts for Equality
On 09, Apr 2014 | In Campaign News | By Scouts for Equality
By Scouts for Equality
Pascal Tessier, America’s first openly gay Eagle Scout, has launched a Change.org petition asking Amazon.com to temporarily withdraw its support of the Boy Scouts of America until the BSA ends its ban on gay leaders.
You can sign the petition here: http://change.org/amazonscouts
Tessier’s petition comes just two days after Geoffrey McGrath—an Eagle Scout, husband and Scoutmaster—became the first gay adult to be removed from the Boy Scouts of America since the organization’s vote in May of 2013 to end its ban on gay youth.
Working with Scouts for Equality, the national campaign to end discrimination within the Boy Scouts of America, Tessier’s petition has already accumulated 15,000 signatures and the number of signatures is growing fast.
“After the removal of Geoff McGrath on Monday, it’s clear that Scouting still isn’t a safe place for LGBT+ adults and parents,” said Pascal. “This is both a wake up call and a personal slap in the face to me. Last year’s vote showed that members of the BSA are ready for full inclusion. In four months when I turn 18, I’ll receive the same letter Geoff did, and I will be kicked out of Scouting. This has to stop, and Amazon can help.”
Amazon is a groundbreaking company with an HRC Corporate Equality Index score of 90, and Jeff Bezos is a strong ally of the LGBT community. Amazon’s website clearly states that: “Organizations that engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance… are not eligible to participate.”
“As the son of a same-sex couple, I saw first hand as a youth that gay adults can be a positive part of Scouting,” said Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and cofounder of Scouts for Equality. “Removing Geoff sends the wrong message to young Scouts. Discrimination is never okay, and it has no place in our movement.”
Since Scouts for Equality’s founding in 2012, seven major corporate sponsors of the Boy Scouts of America have ended their partnerships with the organization, including Lockheed Martin, Walt Disney World, Caterpillar, Major League Soccer, Merck, Intel and UPS.
By Scouts for Equality
On 26, Feb 2014 | In Campaign News | By Scouts for Equality
Scouts for Equality, the national campaign to end discrimination within the Boy Scouts of America, praised Walt Disney World’s decision to end its local support of the Boy Scouts of America’s Central Florida Council.
“We’re never happy to see Scouting suffer as a result of the BSA’s anti-gay policy, but Disney made the right decision to withhold support until Scouting is fully inclusive,” said Eagle Scout and Scouts for Equality co-founder Zach Wahls. “Scouts for Equality will continue to advocate for a fully inclusive membership policy, to help build a stronger Scouting community that is eligible for the support of Corporate America.”
Mr. Wahls is the straight son of a lesbian couple. Under the BSA’s current membership policy, parents like Wahls’ are still banned from being a part of their son’s Scouting experience, and gay Eagle Scouts will still be barred from Scouting on their 18th birthday.
In an e-mail to local members, Central Florida Council Board President Robert Utsey wrote: “We recognize that many Scout Units have received financial support over the last several years from this grant opportunity and are sad to see it go. The National BSA Council has reached out to [Walt Disney World] to try to resolve the situation, however, according to WDW, their views do not currently align with the BSA and they are choosing to discontinue this level of support.”
Since Scouts for Equality’s inception in 2012, seven major corporate sponsors of the Boy Scouts of America have ended their partnerships with the organization. These sponsors include Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Major League Soccer, Merck, Intel, UPS and now Walt Disney World.
The quintessential Scouting film Follow Me, Boys! was produced by Walt Disney Productions in 1966 and is regularly played every summer at Boy Scout camps across the country. The film was one of the last movies produced by Walt Disney, who died of lung cancer two weeks after Follow Me, Boys! was released.
The full contents of Mr. Utsey’s email to the Central Florida Council can be found below: