The Boy Scouts of America just fired Scoutmaster Geoff McGrath for being gay. Despite that, Amazon.com continues to support the BSA through its Amazon Smiles program. Geoff is an Eagle Scout, a husband and the founder of two Scouting units in underserved neighborhoods.
These units are sponsored by Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, an open and affirming member of the Reconciling Ministries Network, which welcomes gay members. RB-UMC’s pastor, Reverend Dr. Monica Corsaro, has made it clear that Cub Scout Pack 98 and Boy Scout Troop 98 would not exist without being fully inclusive. By removing Geoff, the Boy Scouts of America has made it clear that the Scouting program is still not a safe place for LGBT adults--or youth like me.
Recently, it also became public that Amazon is supporting the Boy Scouts through its Amazon Smile program. Discrimination is nothing to smile about.
Amazon has always been a groundbreaking company with a Corporate Equality Index score of 90, and Jeff Bezos is a strong ally of the LGBT community. Amazon’s website clearly states that "Organizations that engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance... are not eligible to participate.” We look forward to the day that the Boy Scouts of America does not fall in that category and supports all Americans--and the sooner that day arrives the better for everyone.
Until the BSA is fully inclusive, Amazon Smile should pause its support for the Scouts.
As one of the country’s first openly gay Eagle Scouts, I know firsthand that gay Scouters (like Geoff and my older brother Lucien) can help grow Scouting. There is nothing in Scouting’s principles that conflicts with being LGBT--and the fact that Geoff and I are both Eagle Scouts is proof of that. Geoff’s Scouting units had his back, just like my Scout troop has my back. By removing Geoff, the BSA is depriving the youth in these units of the opportunity to be a Scout and they are telling all their youth that discrimination is okay.
That’s a harmful message for all youth, gay and straight alike, and it has no place in Scouting.