Philadelphia, PA: One week after its non-discrimination policy was made public, the Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts of America has officially ousted 18-year-old Scout Gregory Lattera and apparently fired him from the summer camp job he has held for the past three years for publicly revealing his sexual orientation.
In a letter dated June 6, 2003, Scout Executive William T. Dwyer III told Lattera: “We have received information that has compelled us to revoke your registration. We therefore request that you sever any relationship you may
have with the Boy Scouts of America. A refund of your registration fee is enclosed.” The letter had given Lattera the option of appealing the actions of the local council by explaining his version of the facts of the case, but had not given any indication of what the BSA’s actions were based on, or what specifically he had to address in his request for a review.
Within hours of receiving the letter Saturday afternoon, Lattera called Dwyer to ask him for details about his expulsion. “He hung up on me as I was trying to get the rest of my questions out,” Lattera reported. “He said, ‘Well there ya go… you went and made your sexual orientation open. If you had just kept your mouth shut and been a good scout and employee you wouldn’t have this problem.’ I said ‘I have a few more questions,’ and Dywer said ‘God bless you Greg’ and hung up. That was the end of the conversation.'”
Lattera has also sent a letter to Dwyer formally asking for an explanation of the actions of the Cradle of Liberty Council. Meanwhile, Chief Scout Executive Roy Williams has sent out a memo from BSA’s National Headquarters stating that the Cradle of Liberty Council did not have the authority to override national membership policies.
“The Boy Scouts of America has once again shown us that they do not practice what they preach,” said Chris Hayes, Eagle Scout and former scout leader from Albany, NY who was kicked out in August of 2000 for being gay. Today, Hayes is the chair of the New York State Coalition for Inclusive Scouting.
“The Cradle of Liberty Council has obviously instituted the so called non-discrimination policy in order to gain favor with potential financial supporters and the American public,” Hayes continued. “As we can see in Greg Lattera’s case, they had no intention of following this policy. How can the Boy Scouts of America teach young men about being trustworthy when they themselves are not?”
Darrell Lambert of the Northwest Coalition for Inclusive Scouting, agreed: “I find it appalling that the Cradle of Liberty Council would come out with an anti-discrimination policy, luring Greg into trusting William Dwyer,
then discriminating against him the first chance they get. In my opinion, William T. Dwyer should be kicked out of Scouting for not being trustworthy.”
Two years ago, the Boston Minuteman Council of the BSA adopted a similar non-discrimination policy. One week after it was reported in the Boston Globe, that council publicly backpedaled when Mark Noel, another openly gay
Eagle Scout and former scout leader, was turned down by that council for a position as a merit badge counselor.
“We’ve seen time and again that BSA officials can’t seem to make any of these local non-discrimination policies stick,” said Noel, who is now the director of the New England Coalition for Inclusive Scouting. “They look good on paper, but as soon as someone puts them to the test to see if they can be trusted, the BSA finds some reason to expel them – saying it was a decision made at National headquarters, or that the person was ‘too open’
about his sexual orientation.”
“No one in Scouting really believes these local non-discrimination policies are for real, and no one can trust them until someone like Greg Lattera is allowed to stay,” Noel continued. “Out of 3.3 million scouts and leaders
around the country right now, we still can’t point to a single one who is openly gay.”
Copies of letters and documents from Gregory Lattera’s case are available on the Inclusive Scouting web site:
Copy of the BSA’s memo from Monday, June 9 redefining the non-discrimination policy adopted by the Cradle of Liberty Council: