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Boy Scouts boot openly gay scout leader

Boy Scouts boot openly gay scout leader

An openly gay Boy Scouts troop leader in Washington state was abruptly removed from his post for "deliberately injecting" his sexuality into the job, the Boy Scouts of America announced on Monday.

 

Geoff McGrath, scoutmaster of Seattle's Troop 98, was being profiled by NBC News when the organization said it was severing ties with him.

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

“The National Council has revoked his registration,” Smith added.

It’s believed McGrath is the first leader to lose his position since the Boy Scouts of America changed its policy last year, voting to allow gay scouts but not gay scout leaders. McGrath, whose charter application for a new troop through the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church was approved last fall, said he didn't hide his orientation and that the Boy Scouts knew about his open support of gay rights.

"They were fully aware of my prior activism," McGrath, 49, told King 5 News.

But a spokeswoman for the Boy Scouts' Seattle chapter said it did not find out about McGrath's sexuality until NBC News contacted her.

“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.

McGrath, though, said his membership wasn't a stunt. “Mostly it’s about ending the silence,” McGrath told NBC. “It means becoming an equal participant with everyone else. That’s all.”

Earlier this month, the Walt Disney Co. announced it would cut funding to the Boy Scouts of America beginning in 2015 over the ban on openly gay scout leaders.

McGrath was believed to be the only openly gay scoutmaster in America — until Monday.

“It’s extremely disappointing to not be fully supported and defended in my membership,” McGrath said. “They are complaining that [being openly gay] is a distraction to Scouting and they don’t seem to understand that the distraction is self-inflicted.”

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