Just in case you thought the Boy Scouts turned over a new, more tolerant leaf when they voted to allow gay members beginning this year, know that they haven't. Last week, they revoked the charter of Seattle's Troop 98 because it had a gay leader.
Geoff McGrath was kicked out of the scouts earlier this month after the organization found out that he is gay. While gay boys up to age 17 are now allowed to participate in the scouts, gay men 18 and over are not. McGrath, an Eagle Scout, had been the troop leader since November, and somehow not one of the boys in the group seem to have been affected one way or the other by his sexuality, despite the enormous importance the Boy Scouts place upon it.
GLAAD posted a letter from the Boy Scouts' general counsel Steven McGowan to Geoff McGrath, the troop leader, and Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, where the troop was chartered. On official Boy Scout stationary that shows young men engaging in fun outdoor activities, McGowan incorrectly referred to McGrath as Peter, which is not his first name, then explained that despite the Boy Scouts' removal of McGrath as a scout leader, the church was allowing him to continue on with the troop.
This is a "violation of the charter agreement and policies of the Boy Scouts of America," McGowan said, and so the church's charter was revoked.
"I would really like them to honor their own bylaws, to respect the religious beliefs of their chartering partners," the church's reverend, Monica Corsaro, told the BBC. "Our religious beliefs include being accepting of all people."
Corsaro told Yahoo! that she intends to let the troop carry on as if nothing had happened.
"Those boys paid for those uniforms," she said. "It will not be me telling them to not wear their uniforms."
Which means that if anyone is going to be telling a group of little boys to remove their clothes, it will be the Boy Scouts of America ordering Troop 98 to remove their Boy Scout-branded uniforms.
The Boy Scouts said in a statement that "we are saddened by this development, but remain committed to providing all youth with the best possible Scouting experience where the Scouting program is the main focus."
Of course, that would be a lot easier if they didn't keep making such a big deal out of their members' and leaders' sexual orientations.