The Boy Scouts of America announced Monday that it will end its ban on gay Scout leaders.

Share story

The Boy Scouts of America Monday announced it will end its ban on gay adult leaders, which could clear the way for a Seattle troop whose charter was revoked last year to be reinstated.

The executive committee adopted a resolution regarding the adult leadership standards policy on Friday, according to the Boy Scouts of America. The resolution was unanimously approved.

“As a result of the rapid changes in society and increasing legal challenges at the federal, state, and local levels … the Boy Scouts of America Executive Committee adopted a resolution amending the adult leadership standards policy,” the BSA said.

Under the new leadership standards, individual religious chartered organizations could still ban gay leaders.

The decision could allow Troop 98, whose charter was revoked in April 2014 because it refused to remove a gay troop leader after the organization withdrew its membership, to be reinstated. Last year, Rainier Beach United Methodist Church was told that it could no longer host troops under the Boy Scout name because it stood by Geoffrey McGrath, 50, who said he was gay in an NBC News profile.

The BSA told McGrath in a March 2014 letter that it had “no choice” but to revoke his registration.

Reached Monday afternoon, McGrath said the announcement is a “culmination of a lot of work on the part of many different individuals.”

“We are very happy that for the first time in many years, individual youth and their families have a choice to scout in BSA in troops that are inclusive and don’t practice discrimination against LGBT people,” McGrath said.

In May, Boy Scouts of America President Robert M. Gates called for the organization to allow local chapter sponsors to determine their own membership policies. Gates, who lives in Skagit County, said the membership standards couldn’t be sustained.

Revoking charters, Gates said at May’s annual meeting, would “deny the lifelong benefits of scouting to hundreds of thousands of boys and young men today and vastly more in the future.”

Gates’ speech likely allowed for the council’s decision, said Jesse Pacem, an Eagle Scout and volunteer with Scouts for Equality.

“This decision is good for scouting,” Pacem, of Bellevue, said. “It’s good for scouting’s future as the definition of civic responsibility and inclusion changes to incorporate everyone.”

Pack and Troop 98 are now chartered with the Baden-Powell Service Association, an outdoor scouting program. The group has 17 registered members, including two girls. McGrath said he hadn’t heard from the Chief Seattle Council, the local BSA council, but would welcome the opportunity to be reinstated.

“We would very much welcome the opportunity to be invited back into the scouting family with BSA,” McGrath said.