SEATTLE — The Boys Scouts of America has removed an openly gay troop leader in Seattle, saying he made an issue out of his sexual orientation.
The organization told Geoff McGrath in a letter Monday that it “has no choice” but to revoke his registration after he said he was gay while being profiled by NBC News.
“Your statement is in direct violation of the BSA’s leadership qualification,” said the letter from the Boy Scouts’ Office of General Counsel in Irving, Texas. It noted that there would not be a review of the decision unless McGrath didn’t make the statements at issue.
“I’m stunned,” McGrath, 49, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “Our hope is that they’ll rethink their decision.”
McGrath, who earned the rank of Eagle Scout, has been leading Seattle Troop 98 since its formation was approved last fall. He has taken the small troop to camp in a snow cave at Mount Rainier National Park, and they’ve worked on knots and lashing skills.
McGrath said the pastor of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, the chartering organization, asked him to lead the troop, and they submitted an application that was approved by the Chief Seattle Council and national headquarters.
“We were transparent,” he said. “If they didn’t want us to be a troop, they shouldn’t have accepted our application. To hear claims that this is surprising to them is confusing. We’ve been transparent from day one.”
A call to the Chief Seattle Council was not immediately returned Tuesday.
The Boy Scouts began accepting openly gay members for the first time this year. The Boy Scouts said it would continue to exclude openly gay adults from leadership positions.