Jay Inslee, the Governor for the State of Washington, has released an open letter supporting Scoutmaster Geoffrey McGrath and condemning the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for revoking his title as well as his troop's charter, simply because Geoffrey is openly gay.
Last month, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray wrote a letter allying with Geoff as well.
In Gov. Inslee's letter, addressed to the BSA Chief Seattle Council, he wrote:
I recently learned that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is revoking the membership of Scoutmaster Geoffrey McGrath as Well as the charter of his troop’s sponsoring organization, Rainier Beach United Methodist Church (RBUMC), based solely on Mr. McGrath’s sexual orientation. I am deeply troubled by this discriminatory action and would like to add my voice to the many leaders, community members and families who support Mr. McGrath and RBUMC.
BSA is a time honored organization that has positively impacted millions of boys and young men through leadership and character development. It is for this very reason that BSA’s decision is so disappointing, as it is contrary to the core values of respect and inclusion that are at the heart of this organization and its programs. Furthermore, this action not only removes an established and well-respected Scoutmaster but also punishes the entire troop for their open and welcoming environment- a quality that should be celebrated, not dismissed.
As you know, Washington State is known for honoring diversity and leading the nation in the right for equal rights. It is fitting that troops in our state would be accepting of personal differences. Historically, Boy Scouts have been known for their civic engagement and moral character, and the negative message of exclusion and discrimination that is being sent to Troop 98 and all Scouts undermines the strength and relevance of BSA in our communities.
I sincerely hope BSA will reconsider its decision, and I encourage the Chief Seattle Council to fully support Mr. McGrath and RBUMC as valuable members of the BSA community and positive roles models for Scouts across our country.
GLAAD has been working with Geoff and Rev. Dr. Monica Cosaro to bring their stories to the national media's and public's attention. GLAAD also has an ongoing relationship with Pascal Tessier, the first-known openly gay Eagle Scout since the BSA lifted its ban on gay scouts. Pascal has launched a Change.org petition urging Amazon.com to suspend support for the BSA through its Amazon Smiles program until the organization is fully LGBT-inclusive. The petition currently has over 92,000 signatures.
While the BSA voted to lift its discriminatory ban on gay youth in May 2013, adults who identify as LGBT are still barred from holding leadership positions within the organization. Despite the top-down attempt to remove Geoff from the role of Scoutmaster and revoke his registration, his troop and local community members have rallied to support him and to keep him in his position. Additionally, Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, a chartering partner with Geoff's Troop 98, hired an attorney and is considering legal action against the BSA in support of Geoff.
GLAAD first started calls for the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on gay Scouts and Scout leaders in April 2012 after Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom and den leader from Ohio was removed from her 7-year-old’s Cub Scout pack for being gay. Tyrrell’s Change.org petition has attracted more than 350,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and adult leaders. To learn more about GLAAD's continuous efforts to bring full equality to scouting, visit glaad.org/scouts.