by: David Ham Updated:
Rainier Beach, Wash. - A spokesperson from the Boy Scouts of America says it is working with Rainier Beach United Methodist Church to replace an openly gay scoutmaster.
"Right now we will work to find new leadership for this troop with minimal disruption to our youth members," said Deron Smith, director of Boy Scouts of America Public Relations.
Geoff McGrath said he never hid that he is gay.
"I've been out in front on this issue, and it's been in the press and well publicized," McGrath added, "If you Google 'Geoffrey McGrath Scout' or 'Geoffrey McGrath gay' it's the first you know how many hits."
Rainier Beach United Methodist church applied for a charter for Boy Scout and Cub Scout Troop 98 last spring. The pastor said he was also open about McGrath's sexual orientation.
"There was no hiding anything so this kind of angle that he's coming out now we have a policy here is no one has to hide. Everybody can be who they are. When we applied to be in the system with the Boy Scouts we did not hide anything," said Rev. Monica Corsaro, Rainier Beach United Methodist Church.
McGrath said it was after doing interviews with the media on his Boy Scout troop that he heard that the Boy Scouts of America would be revoking his membership. He never received an official notification until Tuesday morning. On Monday, McGrath said someone from the legal team at BSA called him with questions.
"He insultingly asked question are you an openly avowed affirmed homosexual I told him I thought that was an insulting question but if the question if I’m gay the answer is yes. It’s very easy for me to say that," said McGrath.
No one at the Seattle Boy Scouts of America office would comment on the situation. A spokesperson emailed us this statement:
"As a part of our longstanding leadership standards policy, the Boy Scouts of America does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of our members. We don't believe the topic of sexual orientation has a role in Scouting and it is not discussed unless it is deliberately injected into Scouting. Recently, this individual provided both Scouting national leadership and the media with information that led to his removal as a leader. The BSA does not have an agenda on the matter of sexual orientation; we remain focused on working together to deliver the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training," said Smith.
Corsaro said she's saddened by the situation.
"Boyscouting seems to be loyalty that's one of the tenets. Where's their loyalty to one of their own?" Corsaro added, "So it's OK for kids between 8 and 18 to be gay and then at 18 they're not to be gay anymore?"
Last year Boy Scouts of America changed its policy to allow gay kids and teens to be Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. It did not change its policy on banning adults from the organization. McGrath said he thinks the policy still might change some day.
"Everyone's aware of the BSA membership policy and everyone's aware that the BSA’s policy is in flux," said McGrath.
Corsaro said she still has not received official notification from BSA so as far as she's concerned the troop's status has not changed.
"As I see it we will be having Boy Scouts this Thursday, next Thursday, and many Thursdays beyond," said Corsaro.
She added, "Because Geoff told his story now there's that kid that’s somewhere in some part of Seattle that's like oh I’ll be accepted there. Isn't that what we want to be accomplishing in the church and in Boyscouting? That all are welcome and all can come no matter what and no matter who they are? I say, Geoff, keep telling your story and we will keep making room for the least and the last children to have a space where they'll be accepted and loved."