SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A man who was fired from the Boy Scouts of America says it was because he was gay, but officials with the Boy Scouts say it’s because he didn’t follow the rules.
The Boy Scouts aren’t saying much about the firing but Tim Griffin has a lot to say. Tim Griffin was fired from his job after nine years as a seasonal staff member at Camp Winton in Amador County.
He’s been a part of the scouts program since he was 5 years old and worked at the camp for nine summers, but he says none of that mattered to scout officials as much as his sexuality.
Being a scout means being tolerant, finding equality, being yourself and standing up for what you believe in,” said Griffin.
But Griffin says the Boy Scouts’ belief that his sexuality is unacceptable led to his firing July 20.
“Maybe it’s in my mannerisms, maybe my gestures. Who knows what does it mean to be too gay?” said Griffin.
Griffin says that’s what senior leaders at Camp Winton told Griffin was behind the decision, along with complaints from visiting scout masters.
“They had complaints that claimed two were afraid I was a pedophile and that they were concerned for their children’s safety which was really heartbreaking,” said Griffin.
The decorated Eagle Scout says he was told his painted fingernails were also a no-no.
“About 20 other staff members all had nail polish,” said Griffin.
Griffin says a picture showing several other members with painted nails was taken the day after he was fired. All 10 walked off the job, as a show of solidarity.
“I didn’t want to leave my job. I didn’t want to walk out but I knew that I had to,” said Jimbo Spalding. “I wanted to say 30 years from now that when something like this happened, I was the person who walked out, not a person who stayed.”
Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent reaffirming of the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy, the Boy Scouts deny Griffin was fired because of his sexuality.
No one with the Golden Empire Council chapter would go on camera, but provided a statement saying Griffin’s firing was “Due to an issue with performance, violation of expected camp behavior and camp standards.”
But the Eagle Scout doesn’t buy it, and says he’s heartbroken at being forced to leave the life he’s lived and loved for so long.
“I’m so honored to be a positive role model in those kids’ lives and being gay is the last thing on my mind,” said Griffin.
Griffin says he’s actually proud of the staffers who didn’t want out but instead stayed to help kids finish up the summer.
But, he claims there are other gay staffers there and believes they too now fear they’ll lose their jobs.
CBS13 also learned that some Eagle Scouts who walked out plan to turn in their medals, as a show of protest.