Citing ongoing discrimination, Queens Borough President rescinds Boy Scout presentation

Melinda Katz, the President of the Queens Borough in New York City, has rescinded an invitation to the Boy Scouts of America to offer a presentation to her cabinet, citing the discriminatory policy of banning gay Scout leaders.

“We are . . . postponing the presentation by the Boy Scouts of America — Greater New York Councils until our office can clarify the Boy Scouts’ stance on discrimination based on sexual orientation,” Katz said in a statement provided by her spokesman.

The Greater New York Council claims to allow gay Scout leaders, however, recent actions around the country, and especially recent events in Seattle, demonstrate that the organization continues to discriminate against LGBT people over the age of 18.

On March 31, the BSA notified Chief Seattle Council Troop 98 Scoutmaster Geoffrey McGrath that his registration would be revoked because he is gay.  However, the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, which charters Troop 98, said it would stand by McGrath and allow him to continue his duties as Scoutmaster. As a result of its continued support, the BSA stripped the church of its charter.

More than 120,000 people have already spoken out against Amazon's continued support of the Boy Scouts through a Change.org petition launched by 17 year-old gay Eagle Scout, Pascal Tessier. Tessier, who started the petition with Scouts for Equality in support of McGrath, rightfully points out that "discrimination is nothing to smile about."

GLAAD will be on the ground in Seattle on Wednesday alongside Scouts for Equality, Pascal, Geoff, and other local Scouts and equality supporters to deliver the petitions to Amazon headquarters. The delivery will coincide with the Boy Scouts National Meeting, which will kick off in Nashville, Tennessee on May 21.

In New York, the BSA has not commented on the rescinded invitation from the Queens Borough President, but the Greater New York Council, issued a statement that reads, in part, “Our focus continues to be on working together to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program of character development.”

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