Brian Peffly has fond memories of the camping, climbing and camaraderie of scouting.
“Scouting has been part of my life since I was a first grader,” he said.
The 35-year-old works as an intensive care unit nurse at the James Cancer Hospital and says scouting led him to a life of service.
Peffly recently rejoined his Westerville scout troop as an openly gay scout leader. He says he was welcomed by the other leaders, the scouts and parents.
But the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) maintains a ban on gay leaders, and so Peffly was not entirely surprised when he started getting calls from the national headquarters.
He says it was an attorney “who eventually left a voice mail saying he was sending me a letter revoking my membership for vague reasons…for my stating that I was unable to comply with rules and regulations of membership.”
In 2014, the national BSA revised its rules to allow gay youth to become scouts but the organization held onto its ban on gay leaders or volunteers.
The local Simon Kenton Council of BSA adopted a statement of diversity in 2014 year saying it doesn’t believe adults should be denied membership based on sexual orientation.
Asked about Peffly’s situation, the Simon Kenton Council issued the following statement from Scout Executive Jeff Moe:
“After carefully reviewing this matter, the National Council took action to revoke this individual’s registration and remove him from the organization. We recognize that the actions of the National Council do not reflect our recently adopted Statement of Diversity, but as members of our national organization, we are bound by its policies. It is never our desire to see an individual removed from Scouting. Our Statement on Diversity remains aspirational and we will continue to work toward change to better reflect the communities we serve in the Simon Kenton Council.”
Peffly says as painful as it is to have been kicked out of the Boy Scouts, he will continue working for change.
“In a way I’m now unfettered and I can push as hard as I want for equality in scouting and I know that one day I will be able to join again when they lift the ban,” he said. “Scouting cannot exist for another 100 years if they continue to discriminate.”