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Eagle Scout says Boy Scouts’ summer camp fired him for ‘being too gay’

Ten camp staffers quit in protest
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Boy Scouts of America officials in California have fired an openly gay man from his job as a merit badge instructor, claiming that he failed to adhere to uniform requirements and standards for appropriate dress for the summer camp, Camp Winton, located in Amador County.

Timothy Griffin, a 22-year-old Eagle Scout and an eight-year veteran of camp’s seasonal staff said he was crushed by the firing, and that he thinks “the reaffirmation” of the Boy Scouts policy against gay scouts “played a role in my termination.”

KXTV

Timothy Griffin

Ten members of the camp’s staff of 30 walked out in support of Griffin, saying the decision to fire him was entirely about his being gay, reported the Sacramento Bee.

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

A senior scouting official from the Boy Scouts’ Sacramento-based Golden Empire Council, (which serves Scouts from Redding to Sacramento and runs two summer camps, including Camp Winton) speaking on condition of anonymity, told LGBTQ Nation that at issue were Griffin’s “painted fingernails and earrings,” and added that “there were also complaints about his mannerisms and behavior.”

Glen Goddard, program director for the Golden Empire Council disputed the assertion that Griffin’s sexual orientation played a role in the council’s decision.

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

According to Griffin, the majority of staff at the camp knew about his sexual orientation and it only came to a flash point of contention after a visiting adult leader who had accompanied a group of Scouts to camp for a week pulled him aside to tell him “he was being too gay.”

He said he was proud of camp director Joel Adema, who stood up for him, but over the next few weeks Adema asked him to stop wearing the nail polish – which he said started as a quirky tradition years ago.

More than half the staff, male and female, joined Griffin in wearing nail polish, said Kayla Doria, who resigned her post as camp nature director after Griffin’s dismissal.

Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, an LGBT advocate who was raised by same-sex parents and is now co-founder of Scouts for Equality, told LGBTQ Nation on Wednesday, “I suspect this is only the beginning. The longer the BSA drags out what we all know is an inevitable end to this policy, the more collateral damage–like this episode–they will incur along the way.”

California law prohibits firing a person for their sexual orientation or gender identity, although in 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, found that state laws are not necessarily applicable to private organizations like the Boy Scouts.

Courtney Joslin, a professor of constitutional law at the University of California’s UC Davis Law School — who had co-authored an amicus brief that was filed in the litigation challenging Proposition 8 — remarked, “It appears that the Boy Scouts can fire someone because they appear to be gay.”

The ban on gay scouts and gay and lesbian scout leaders echoes the “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell” policy of the U.S. Armed Forces which was repealed last year. The BSA doesn’t inquire about the sexual orientation of its employees, volunteers or scouts, but denies membership to openly gay or lesbian individuals.

Griffin said that for him the worst part was the message BSA had for him with his termination. “They told me in a very harsh way that I don’t embody the true Scouting spirit,” he said.

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47 more reader comments:

  1. Wow!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:38pm
  2. wow that was just fucking wrong =)

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:38pm
  3. That is the problem with boyscouts so Christian that they boot anyone who is gay.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:39pm
  4. the boyscouts are not true christians

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:41pm
  5. Jerks!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:42pm
  6. so sad.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:43pm
  7. The Boy Scouts are a joke. They and all their self righteous and hypocritical supporters will burn in …..

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:45pm
  8. Being a summer camp I feel they should not have to wear a uniform.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:46pm
  9. The Boy Scouts are pathetic and completely embarrassing.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:48pm
  10. This really is getting ridiculous…..these boys/men dedicate their hearts to this program, and the Boy Scouts just take full advantage of that! They don’t deserve gay people, that’s the bottom line!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:53pm
  11. We are living in some kind of parallel reactionary universe that is so entirely fear-based that it is frightening. Scary times requires us who are outraged by these seemingly never ending stories to be vocally courageous. The insanity must stop!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 9:01pm
  12. Objective Criteria:

    -Gay enough?
    -Exceeding standards?

    Flow charts would help — measuring the gayness.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 9:16pm
  13. BSA Loyalty to an Eagle Scout, that is a dam Shame!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 9:40pm
  14. @Zolinda Morales–Please, generalize more. Did you not read the article how nearly everybody on staff at this camp was on his side, and it was just from the uptight execs who decided to fire him? The BSA is a great organization that helps a lot of boys become men, but this gay hate is going on too long. btw, I’m an Eagle Scout in contention with their upholding of the extremely outdated “morals.”

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 9:47pm
  15. Dress code is dress code. Gay or not, if you sign up to work some place you agree to certain terms and conditions.
    The boy scouts bigoted policies not withstanding, Griffin (as he prefers to be called) violated his terms of employment.
    This article amounts to hype and sensationalism surrounding the BSAs policies regarding gays.
    I say this as a liberal queer.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 9:52pm
  16. Again the BSA should be removed from Public Spaces. Any organization that discriminates should not be allowed to benefit from public funding by individuals/groups they discriminate against.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 11:05pm
  17. I see what you’re saying, Justin M. Walker. However, the people described in the article believe that the whole uniform thing was used as an excuse to fire him, and the real reason behind his firing is the BSA’s anti-gay policies.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 11:28pm
  18. Too gay, what is that exactly?

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 4:02am
  19. The Boy Scouts were founded by a gay man, and the organization’s whole ethos and costuming scream “best little boy in the world,” a very queer concept.

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 5:28am
  20. Casey just because people believe something, does that make it true? i can believe that the sky is purple all i want but that doesn’t mean that it is. he violated the dress code. they fired him. he was given multiple warnings to remove the nail polish and i’m sure the earrings too and he didn’t.

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 7:15am
  21. I am kind of along the same lines as Justin.. but slightly different. As a former manager of a major chain. I can assure you, ‘minor’ infractions such as those cited for this dismissal are what people LOOK FOR when they are trying to find something, anything to use. If they didn’t have an original plan to terminate him, they would have never even looked for something in the first place. Its an excuse.

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 7:59am
  22. The Boy Scouts of America are the newest form of Sturmabteilung or Nazis!!!

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 8:06am
  23. Okay, so I’ll amend myself. You don’t violate dress code when it makes you a target for your companies well publicized discrimination.
    You either fall into line and keep your job or you protest and make a point by losing it. Both are choices and both come at a cost. Having known Griffin personally for a brief time, I would not be surprised if he intentionally took the latter route. If so, good for him.

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 8:40am
  24. What is TOO GAY???

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 8:48am
  25. Well- Dr. Kinsey showed there was a scale of human sexuality. People fit in, in various degrees. Do the Eagle Scouts have a reigning Pyschologist that decides Who’s Who?

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 9:42am
  26. Is there not something else we should be more worried about than this?

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 9:42am
  27. Too gay? Would I be fired for being too stright?

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 9:44am
  28. I wonder if you can be too straight. And if so, how?

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 10:17am
  29. So much hate in this world, sick of it. I been bullied by my neighbors for a year, causes a lot of emotional distress. I read all this on here, different people being hated, bullied, hurt. It’s so depressing.

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 12:43pm
  30. but the thing about this subject is that there has been way too much child molestation in the Boy Scouts that they are only being cautious about it. Can you blame them? While this is happening, many people or openly gay men are getting hurt in the process and it is sad for the ones who are honest about their intentions or the ones who actually want to do good in the Boy Scouts. These people who are only there to hurt these innocent children should be banned from being there. But when it comes down to the safety of all these children, they have to be cautous no matter what. This has nothing to do with discrimmination.

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 7:18pm
  31. is there a such thing as being too much of anything? It is what it is. Gotta luv diz great nation of ours.

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 8:31pm
  32. Please can we maybe not dredge thru the minutia of every incident, no matter how similar to previous ones, from here to the point 5-10 years from now when BSA finally pulls its head out of its anal cavity?

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 11:51am
  33. Hes a cutie. He needs to move on to bigger and better things!

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 11:54am
  34. he wore nail polish to a kids camp?

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 11:56am
  35. Lol what’s too Gay? .. Gay is a sexuality not a personality.

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 11:59am
  36. One cannot be too gay, or too rich, or too thin!

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 11:59am
  37. Why hell hell be part of that organization anyway?

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 12:14pm
  38. Well you can be too thin, but I see what you’re getting at. :p

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 12:15pm
  39. That is so wrong

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 12:19pm
  40. Really embarassed to live near Sac now.

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 12:24pm
  41. Insensitive motherfuckers! They ought to be ashamed of themselves! Firing this guy for being too gay! Are those bigot motherfuckers racist or something? I’ll bet those motherfuckers do not want any African Americans or Latinos to join the Boy Scout’s Summer Camp! That’s so messed up! >:-(

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 12:36pm
  42. I’ve had girls get offended because I was “too straight”, lol.

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 1:06pm
  43. That’s Bullshit….It’s Time That The BSA Should Be Run By The LGBT Community As A Whole…& Not A Bunch Of Assnine Religious & Political Right Wing Asshole’s…I Was In Scoutin’ For 13 Year’s…And I Quit Because Of All The Religious Hate…!!!.

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 1:15pm
  44. So. Wearing nail polish is a gay thing? Last time I checked girl can wear nail polish and not be prosecuted. But I guess its different since we live in a sexist and gender ordered world.

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 1:18pm
  45. Now there’s Fifty Shades of GAY!…..

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 3:10pm
  46. There is no such thing as too gay!!!!

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 4:30pm
  47. Whatever……that story is gay…..hope he fights for his job back and then gaylee tells them to shove it!!!

    Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 6:15pm