Boy Scouts of America revoke Seattle church’s charter for backing gay troop leader
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) revoked the charter for a Seattle church for supporting a scout leader the organization stripped of his position because he is gay, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported on Monday.
The Scouts said in a statement that Rainier Beach United Methodist Church was “no longer authorized” to host a troop for violating its terms of service. The organization allows for gay youths to be part of the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, but bars gay adults from serving as leaders.
“We are saddened by this development, but remain committed to providing all youth with the best possible Scouting experience where the Scouting program is the main focus,” the statement read in part. The church has stated it was aware McGrath is gay when it applied for the charter to host Boy Scout and Cub Scout Troop 98 last year.
The church publicly supported Geoff McGrath following his removal on March 31, and has itself won support from 39 state lawmakers, who commended Rainier Beach United’s stance in a letter sent on April 16.
“It’s important to us that we are open to all people,” pastor Monica Corsaro said in a statement. “It’s a part of our values that the spirit of inclusion is also reflected in the Boy Scout Troop we charter. The congregation stands with Geoff, because his work with this troop reflects the spirit and the values of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church.”
McGrath told KIRO-TV earlier this month he was open about his sexuality while working with the troop, and was only recently asked about it by a member of the Scouts’ legal team.
“The insultingly asked question [was], ‘Are you an openly avowed affirmed homosexual?’” McGrath was quoted as saying. “I told him I thought that was an insulting question but if the question if I’m gay the answer is yes. It’s very easy for me to say that.”
According to the Post-Intelligencer, the BSA released a statement at the time it removed McGrath that it does not have “an agenda on the matter of sexual orientation” and did not ask about members’ sexual orientation.
Corsaro told KIRO that her church will host its own youth program with McGrath at the helm.
“Boyscouting seems to be loyalty, that’s one of the tenets,” she was quoted as saying. “Where’s their loyalty to one of their own? So it’s OK for kids between 8 and 18 to be gay and then at 18 they’re not to be gay anymore?”
Watch KIRO’s report on McGrath’s ouster, as aired earlier this month, below.