QUEER VOICES

Boy Scouts Sever Ties With Seattle Church After Its Refusal To Remove Gay Scout Leader

04/21/2014 12:17 pm 12:17:53 | Updated Feb 02, 2016
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have revoked the charter of Seattle's Rainier Beach United Methodist Church after the parish made headlines for standing by an openly gay Scoutmaster earlier this month.

As NBC is reporting, BSA officials were planning to notify leaders and parents of children in Seattle Troop 98 and Pack 98 with news that the church is no longer authorized as a charter partner.

BSA spokesman Deron Smith told NBC that the organization was "saddened by the development," but that officials had no other option since the church has chosen to stand by Geoffrey McGrath, who was ousted from the scouting organization for being gay: “Because the church no longer agrees to the terms of the BSA chartered organization agreement, which includes following BSA policies, it is no longer authorized to offer the Scouting program."

Among those to decry the move was Zach Wahls, Executive Director of Scouts for Equality.

“The Boy Scouts’ decisions only serve to hurt a group of boys who need the values and leadership of someone like Scoutmaster McGrath,” Wahls, who is also a HuffPost Gay Voices blogger, said in an email statement. “Unfortunately, the BSA’s decision calls into question its commitment to leadership and values by perpetuating an outmoded policy rooted in fear and discrimination. History will show that today’s announcement is a self-inflicted wound.”

Meanwhile, Rainier Beach Rev. Monica Corsaro said the decision went "against everything the Boy Scouts is about," according to the New York Daily News.

Earlier this month, Corsaro told the United Methodist News Service that McGrath, 49, would continue to serve as the leader of the church's scouting program despite the BSA's decision to revoke his membership after they discovered he was gay.

"If I take responsibility for who is hired, then I also take responsibility for who is fired," Corsaro is quoted as saying. "Our church is thriving and happy, and we support Geoffrey."

Meanwhile, McGrath penned an impassioned Op-Ed for The Seattle Times, saying that his identity as a gay man "has been known to my neighbors, my church congregation and my Facebook friends," and added that it was also "known by the scouting professionals who accepted the application to form a troop."

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Key Events In The Boy Scouts' Gay Ban
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