VACAVILLE, CA - Sitting in a friend's home in Vacaville, 22-year-old Timothy Griffin is convinced he was fired from Camp Winton in Amador County for being gay.
Griffin, an 8-year veteran of the camp, was let go last week.
The Golden Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which oversees this region, said Griffin was fired for a personnel matter; more specifically, a dress code violation in which Griffin refused to remove nail polish from all ten fingernails.
Griffin said there's never really been a dress code and the reasoning is just a cover to the real reason: the Boys Scouts' policy against gays.
"Everyone on staff understands it's because I'm gay,"Griffin said."The fact that it happened two or three days after (the Boys Scouts') affirmation of anti-gay policy speaks a lot about why they fired me."
Griffin was a camp leader in the camp, which is about a mile hike into the El Dorado National Forest.
"I am very hurt, the word I've been using is heartbroken," Griffin said. "For them to fire me over something so petty shows so much disrespect."
Golden Council Scout Executive Jim Martin said in a statement, "As this is a personnel matter, I am not at liberty to discuss details, but I can tell you that, contrary to other reports, this incident has nothing to do with our membership policy. The camp director has no knowledge of this individual's sexual orientation."
Griffin doesn't buy it, but does admit some troops made complaints. He's been openly gay for at least five years.
"They were scared of the safety of their children around me and they felt I wasn't a good role model for their kids," Griffin said, citing the complaints filed.
But he dismisses those complaints as homophobic.
When Griffin was dismissed, at least 12 other staff members walked out on the job showing their support.
"Most of the people that left were straight," said Kayla Doria, one of those who walked out. "We can't be a part of an organization where discrimination is institutionalized."
Griffin's greatest fear isn't his future, is that of younger Scouts still in the troop.
"I want these kids who are shaking in their boots right now in scouting and are queer to understand that it's okay to be gay."
By Nick Monacelli, firstname.lastname@example.org