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Boy Scouts Fire Gay Staffer, 10 Quit In Protest

by David Badash on July 25, 2012

in Bigotry Watch,Discrimination,News

Post image for Boy Scouts Fire Gay Staffer, 10 Quit In Protest

Last Tuesday, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced it was reaffirming its policy banning all gay people from all aspects and all levels of Scouting. On Friday, 22-year old Tim Griffin, an Eagle Scout who is gay, and was the most-tenured staffer at Camp Winton, a Boy Scouts of America summer camp in California, was fired. Some BSA leaders stated he was fired for dress code violations, while others add his behavior was part of the decision. But Griffin, who worked at Camp Winton for eight years, rising to program director, says he’s certain he was fired for being gay, and noted, “They told me in a very harsh way that I don’t embody the true Scouting spirit.”

Griffin added, “I definitely think that the reaffirmation of the anti-gay policy played a role in my termination,” according to a report in the Sacramento Bee:

After the week’s campers left Saturday morning, 10 of about 30 camp staff members resigned to show support for Griffin. The summer camp closes in two weeks.

The decision to fire Griffin came from the Golden Empire Council, which serves 20,000 Scouts from Redding to Sacramento and runs two summer camps, including Camp Winton near Bear River Reservoir along Highway 88.

“What it came down to was his failure to comply with management regarding a uniform issue. We gave him plenty of warnings,” said Glen Goddard, program director for the council.

Fellow staffers who support Griffin say the firing was entirely about his being gay.

“It was absolutely about his sexual orientation, no question about it,” said Graham Littlejohn, an Eagle Scout and the third-ranking staff member at camp until he joined Saturday’s walkout.

The in-camp tension over the firing of Griffin – the longest tenured staff member – peaked at the Friday night campfire when the camp program director, the No. 2 position, read an impassioned speech about tolerance. He resigned in the morning along with the other staff members.

The support for Griffin shows that the reaffirmed ban on gays is a matter of debate even within the Scouts.

The Sacramento Bee, for its part, chose to include comments from the leader of an organization certified as an anti-gay hate group  by Southern Poverty Law Center, Randy Thomasson of Save California:

On the other side, Randy Thomasson, president of the website SaveCalifornia.com, which bills itself as an advocate for traditional family values, said the Scouts had every right to dismiss Griffin.

“The Scout policy is well known,” Thomasson said. “The Boy Scouts have high standards for behavior. The Boy Scouts ought to be commended for maintaining their high standards.

“This guy should not have been working there once he decided he was against their stance on sexuality,” he said.

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{ 12 comments }

jamiemcgonnigal July 25, 2012 at 10:17 am

California has a fairly strict anti-discrimination employment law. If he was in fact fired for being gay, he most definitely has a case. Having an anti-gay policy is one thing, but firing someone for being gay is another. Unless they are a religious institution which I don't believe they've ever ACTUALLY claimed to be, they wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

Serenifly July 25, 2012 at 10:50 am

Those laws don't apply because the Boy Scouts aren't a public business. They are essentially a private club. SCOTUS already sided with them and the Mormon and Catholic churches, so there is really nothing anyone can do in court.

rkeefe57 July 25, 2012 at 1:02 pm

The KKK is a private business too, but that doesn't keep them out of the Court of Public Opinion.

Let the SPLC turn its multi-million dollar publicity machine against the BSA for a few months and see what happens.

MarkVA71 July 25, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Correction. They are not a club. They are a religious organization that receives FEDERAL FUNDING.

rkeefe57 July 25, 2012 at 10:20 am

"…comments from the leader of an organization certified as an anti-gay hate group by Southern Poverty Law Center"

Just out of curiosity, why hasn't the SPLC ever "certified" the Boy Scouts of America as a "hate group," since it is the BSA's widely publicized anti-gay discrimination that is at the heart of the matter here?

There's no shortage of evidence to support the claim:

The BSA has stated publicly for years that all gay men "lack the morals" to be Scout leaders.

The BSA blatantly refuses to hire gay men for no other reason than their orientation.

The BSA receives public funding.

The core mission of the BSA is to mold the minds and shape the characters of millions of American boys from all walks of life.

Yet, despite all of these red flags you won't find a single word about the Boy Scouts on the SPLC's web site and they certainly aren't using their legal resources to end this blatant discrimination.

Why aren't the Boy Scouts of America a "certified hate group"??
http://wp.me/pCLYZ-1c

Raytheist July 25, 2012 at 10:22 am

“What it came down to was his failure to comply with management regarding a uniform issue. We gave him plenty of warnings,” said Glen Goddard, program director for the council.

But what was the alleged "uniform issue"? that he didn't keep his uniform sparkly clean while outdoors in the woods? Was his hat on crooked? was he wearing non-uniform underwear? Seriously, this "uniform issue" sounds like a cover.

GaelicWench July 26, 2012 at 10:34 am

The uniform excuse is as lame as it gets. Having been an active adult Boy Scout trainer, having gone to Woodbadge training and then on to Round Table training for adults, I've seen on many occasions uniform discrepancies. It IS a cover.

I know that had this happened in the council (TAC) i was actively involved in, in which we lost a tenured leader due to his sexual orientation, I would have been amongst those who walked out as well.

fromdaveinaz July 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm

I received my Eagle award in 1967. Up until now I have been very proud of it and what the Boy Scouts had contributed to my early adult life. I can no longer have this award in my house as it represents an organization that now has turned to spreading hate and discrimination. I have returend my Eagle award to the BSA office in Irving, TX. I hope others follow.

waterproof151 July 25, 2012 at 5:00 pm

The Boy Scouts have to change direction on this…

Serenifly July 25, 2012 at 6:31 pm

BSA is basically owned by the Mormons and Catholics these days. The Boy Scouts are the official Mormon youth organization. Nothing is going to change without them agreeing. Which will never happen.

lorimakes July 26, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Well, they're well on their way to falling out of the mainstream. Looks like being an Eagle Scout isn't going to have quite the cachet it once had. They'll just be THE youth group (boys only cuz girls should just stay at home, natch) of the extreme religionists, whose numbers are falling as we speak.

Goose09 December 11, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I was in the Boy Scouts for my entire childhood. I never achieved a high rank (first class, because I was really in it for the camping experience), but I took pride in being a Boy Scout and I was proud of the outdoors experience that it gave me. The recent news about the Boy Scouts doesn't surprise me; I had seen instances of religious discrimination when I was younger (and still a christian) but I didn't know any better. Now that I look back on my time in the scouts, I don't regret the decision to join, but I definitely regret believing in the program so much. There are different programs within scouting for various religions, but they still want to implement a national anti-gay policy based on one religion? It's incredibly confusing, and now that I am older, I can look back and be certain that I was influenced by the scout leader's personal morals and opinions.

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