Boy Scouts Removed Mother From Troop After Discovering She Is A Lesbian


Written by Igor Volsky, a ThinkProgress blogger

Andy Towle reminds us of the homophobia still prevalent among the Boy Scouts of America, pointing to this report about how the organization removed a lesbian mother, Denise Steele, as a scout master of her son’s troop after becoming aware of her sexual orientation:

The issue of Steele being a lesbian didn’t arise until one weekend in June during a camping trip to Assateague Island. The camping trip was from a Saturday to a Monday, and Steele needed to work Monday so she asked Funk to pick her up from the campsite.

After both departed, one of the other assistant scout masters, Skip Inabinett, started questioning who the woman was who had picked up Steele.

After discovering that Steele’s partner had picked her up, Inabinett felt that she should be removed as an assistant scout master. In an email that Inabinett sent to a close personal friend of Steele’s and whose son was also in the troop, he stated, “If what you said about Denise Steele being an active sexual is true, do you feel comfortable talking with her about stepping down/resigning as an ASM … as her friend, this may be an opportunity for you to share with her about Christ’s love and the need to believe that as sinners we cannot get to heaven on our own and that we need a savior.”

More communication between both Steele and Inabinett went on for the next couple of weeks. The conversations centered around how Inabinett thought Steele’s lifestyle choice was a sin.

The Boy Scouts prohibit atheists, agnostics, and “avowed” homosexual people from leadership roles, and its right to discriminate has been repeatedly upheld by state and federal courts. In 2004, the organization adopted the following policy statement: “Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed. The conduct of youth members must be in compliance with the Scout Oath and Law, and membership in Boy Scouts of America is contingent upon the willingness to accept Scouting’s values and beliefs. Most boys join Scouting when they are 10 or 11 years old. As they continue in the program, all Scouts are expected to take leadership positions. In the unlikely event that an older boy were to hold himself out as homosexual, he would not be able to continue in a youth leadership position.”

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.

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Photo from dbking via flickr creative commons


Chris M.
Chris M5 years ago

Mary B. - you are an IDIOT. Shame on YOU and shame on the SCOUTS. Whatever morality you live by is seriously lacking in MORALITY.

Rin S.
Rin S6 years ago

So much for Boy Scouts being a respectful organisation...

Karen S.
aria e6 years ago

But its ok to conceal pedophiles - see the Canada scouts story.

Joy Jin
Joy Jin6 years ago

awful. it's stupid how ppl think that homosexuality is a sin and needs to be cured. it's not an illness or a sin and it's a part of our culture now. get used to it.

Sue Griffiths
SUE Griffiths6 years ago

@Mary B.
I agree that the Boys Scouts is a wonderful organisation with rules and restrictions. I don't know whether I'm missing something, but I've read through all the Scouting law going back to when the Scout movement was established in 1908 by Robert Baden Powell. Nowhere could I find that to be gay would exclude a person from the Scout movement. Also, perhaps you could enlighten me as to the 'lies' that Ms.Steele was supposed to have told. As for the 'contract' that she signed, surely you're not going to tell me that sexual orientation had to be declared. If so, do heterosexuals have to declare their orientation? As you say, 'Trustworthy' is the first law. Surely being gay doesn't mean that one isn't be trustworthy. This Mr. Skip Inabinett, sounds like a pathetic, pious prat. How dare he insinuate that Ms. Steele is a sinner. Is he whiter than white? Can you honestly tell me that no Scoutmaster has ever 'sinned'. I'll tell you one thing. If he had acted like this in the UK, then some investigative journalist would have dug deep and and found some dirt on him.

Mary Brady
Mary Brady6 years ago

The Boy Scouts is a wonderful organization which has rules and restrictions. Everyone joining the organization is aware of this ruling. So the person that was forced to leave was aware of her lies originally. The Boy Scout Law has as its first law, Trustworthy. The leaders sign a contract that they abide by these laws and others. So she knew from the beginning she was falsifying a legal document, also you must submit to a background check at least in our area. So she was living a lie from the beginning. So she has no reason to complain, the other leader should be commended in bringing this to districts attention. Her son should be admitted but she would not.

Debra Van Way
Debra Van Way6 years ago


Glen P.
Glen P6 years ago

Religion is poison.

Christine S.

The naked man behind the boy scout in the statue creeps me out...

Sue Griffiths
SUE Griffiths6 years ago

I can't believe we are even discussing this in 2011. This is one topic that the UK is way ahead of the USA. Sure we have a few 'Queer bashers', every country has its louts, but on the whole we have come a long way in the last ten years. Gay people in the UK have the same rights as straight people. I remember a couple of years ago, some of our gay Members of Parliament were complaining that their same sex partners weren't receiving the same benefits as the partners of heterosexual MP's. It wasn't long before that was put right. When are people in the USA going to realise that they are no better a person than gay people. In fact, because of their refusal to try and understand others that are not the same as them, I would say that they are less of a human being. Live and let live. To me, being a good citizen is the most important thing of all.