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Boy Scouts boot openly gay Scoutmaster

Details of a Boy Scout uniform worn by Brad Hankins, a campaign director for Scouts for Equality as he responds questions during a news conference in front of the Boy Scouts of America headquarters Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in Dallas, Texas. Scouts and their families have delivered a petition to the Boy Scouts of America headquarters urging an end to a policy banning gay scouts and leaders from the organization. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) Details of a Boy Scout uniform. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The Boy Scouts of America has followed through on its ban against gay Scout leaders, booting a man it says “deliberately injected” his sexuality into scouting.

The Scouts on Monday removed Scoutmaster Geoff McGrath, 49, who is believed to be the first openly gay adult to be barred since last year’s ballot in which the Scouts voted to accept openly gay youth but not gay adult leaders, according to NBC News. McGrath told local news station KING 5 News that he was being profiled by NBC News this week when the news outlet posted on its website that his membership had been “revoked” — information that was news to him, he said.

McGrath, an Eagle Scout who is married to his partner of 20 years, had filed an application for a new troop last year through Rainier Beach Methodist Church. He said Troop 98, in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood, was approved.

“They were fully aware of my prior activism,” McGrath told KING 5 News. “The impact of discrimination has missed them somehow.”

Boy Scouts of America confirmed the organization revoked McGrath’s membership. Spokesperson Deron Smith wrote in an email to NBC:

“Our policy is that we do not ask people about their sexual orientation, and it’s not an issue until they deliberately inject it into Scouting in an inappropriate fashion.”

Chief Seattle Council leader Sharon Moulds told NBC News the Scouts did not ask about his sexual orientation and discovered he was gay only after NBC News contacted them.

Moulds wrote in an email to NBC News:

“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.”

McGrath said it was not a stunt but simply an attempt to re-open the organization’s LGBT policy.

Spokesperson Deron Smith said the Boy Scouts of America has no plans to revisit its policy on gay adults.

Still, McGrath told NBC News he is optimistic.

“Cooler minds will prevail,” he said, “possibly in my case and certainly eventually, to the benefit of all of Scouting. That’s what I believe. If it doesn’t happen today, that will be disappointing, but it doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen.”

Lindsey Bever is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post. Tweet her: @lindseybever



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