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.
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.
Geoff McGrath, a gay Scoutmaster and Eagle Scout in Seattle, has membership taken away by BSA for leading scout troop which is hosted by open and affirming Methodist church
Geoff McGrath, 49, leader of Troop 98 in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood, is believed to be the first gay adult to be booted from the Boy Scouts of America since it held a controversial ballot last May allowing gay youth—but not adults—to participate in one of the country’s most popular youth organizations. The Scouts had severed ties with gay adults in previous years, before the vote to admit gay youth, but McGrath, an Eagle Scout, had been hoping for a different response in this new era of Scouting.
In In the Press
By Ken Schulz
BSA President Wayne Perry says ending the BSA’s restriction on gay youth membership is “the right decision for Boy Scouts”.
On 22, May 2013 | In In the Press | By Ken Schulz
Boy Scouts president: Let in gay boys
Wayne Perry, USATODAY 4:36 p.m. EDT May 22, 2013
Our policies must be based on what is in the best interest of our nation’s children.
- The resolution reaffirms our core belief in doing one’s “duty to God.”
- Changing adult standards would have conflicted with the virtues of our chartered partners.
- We will work to stay focused on that which unites us.
In In the Press
By Scouts for Equality
On 09, May 2013 | In In the Press | By Scouts for Equality
“Today’s Washington Post/ABC News poll demonstrates that there is overwhelming support in this country for the Boy Scouts of America’s effort to end discrimination within its organization. 63 percent of adults agree with Scouts for Equality that it is time that all scouts be treated as equal,” said Zach Wahls, Eagle Scouts and Founder of Scouts for Equality. “ This is why over the next two weeks leading up to the historic vote on May 23rd, we will work with our partners and over 11,000 members to do everything we can to make this a reality. The poll also demonstrates that the majority of Americans agree that while is this is a critical step, this fight cannot and will not end until every scout, scout leader and parent are welcome making BSA the strongest it has ever been.”