Are gay scout leaders appropriate?

By KTTH | April 28, 2014

Zach Wahls, co-founder of Scouts for Equality, a group that wants the Boy Scouts to end a ban on gay scout leaders, spoke to host Ben Shapiro on Friday about that ban and the situation with gay Seattle former troop leader Geoff McGrath.

McGrath led a Boy Scouts troop at a Rainier Beach church afoul of the Boy Scouts gay troop leader ban. The troop existed for a while, but earlier this month, the Boy Scouts terminated its relationship with it for failing to obey the ban.

Monica Corsaro, pastor of the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church where the scout troop was based, has said that McGrath was chosen as troop leader because he was an Eagle Scout, served in the national guard, and holds a degree in social work – not because he’s gay.

Shapiro asked Wahls why McGrath and other gay scout leaders should to be part of scouting, since sexuality isn’t – and shouldn’t be – part of it.

“Explain your take on why exactly the Scouts should change its standards with regards to gay scoutmasters?” Shapiro asked.

Wahls said that Scouts for Equality wants the Boy Scouts to accept gay scout leaders – the organization has lifted a ban on openly gay scouts – because it feels that the values of the Boy Scouts apply to everyone, gay or straight.

“There were reports early on that Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, when they had set this up, did so specifically to create a national issue; they specifically asked McGrath to lead the scouts in this branch because they knew he was gay, and solicited some media coverage. Do you see that as problematic, as exploitative of the Boy Scouts?” Shapiro asked.

Wahls said that media – specifically, NBC News – sought the Rainier Beach troop to do a story on a gay scout leader.

“If you firmly believe in the values of scouting, then you’re going to take action against the [gay troop leader ban],” Wahls said.

Shapiro went to the heart of the issue, which is sex. If the Girl Scouts don’t allow young men to lead troops of teenage girls on camping trips, then why should the Boy Scouts allow men who are sexually attracted to men lead troops of young or teenage boys? Are parents wrong to have an issue with that?

A Boy Scouts policy prevents scouts from being in a one-on-one situation with troop leaders, Wahls said, which would prevent uncomfortable situations.

“Nobody is forcing parents to be a member of a troop where a scoutmaster is gay, or there are gay scouts. If you want to change your troop, you totally can. We’re just trying to say, if you don’t have those concerns, if you don’t think LGBT people should be excluded, then scouting should be a place where you feel comfortable,” Wahls said.

“Doesn’t precisely the reverse apply for gay scout leaders? Nobody is forcing them to join the scouts.” Shapiro said.

“The values of scouting are so important they should be accessible to gay people like Geoff and other gay scouts,” Wahls said.


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