SEATTLE -- The Boy Scouts of America announced Sunday to parents and Troop Leaders of a Seattle church's BSA troop that is no longer authorised to host and sponsor its troop and the Cub Scout Pack because of its refusal to fire its openly Gay Troop Leader.
On March 31, the BSA notified Chief Seattle Council Troop 98 Scoutmaster Geoffrey McGrath that his registration would be revoked because he is gay. However, the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, which charters Troop 98, said it would stand by McGrath and allow him to continue his duties as Scoutmaster. As a result of its continued support, the BSA on Thursday stripped the church of its charter. McGrath, runs the troop at Rainier Beach.
Community support for McGrath has been overwhelmingly positive. The entire Seattle City Council, as well as more than 20 Washington State legislators, have expressed their support for Rainier Beach United Methodist Church’s right to determine its own leadership for McGrath’s ability to remain a Scoutmaster.
"Based on our religious principles, we will continue to act as an autonomous church that does not discriminate,” said Rev. Monica Corsaro, the church pastor when the controversy first erupted. “We will continue to have our Troop meetings here, every Thursday night, with business as usual." After being notified she said the move was expected, but added that her congregation’s anti-discrimination beliefs were not being respected.
She also called it a “unilateral decision” by the BSA and said that the church was not consulted. (The BSA said it called Corsaro; she said she could not talk last week during the busy Christian Holy Week holidays.)
“Breaking us up like this seems to go against everything the Boy Scouts is about,” Corsaro told NBC News. “It seems to me that when you are in a dispute with a partner you try to work it out with the partner. It’s very clear we’re not viewed as an equal partner.”
“The Boy Scouts’ decisions only serve to hurt a group of boys who need the values and leadership of someone like Scoutmaster McGrath,” said Zach Wahls, Executive Director of Scouts for Equality, a national organization dedicated to ending the BSA’s ban on gay members and leaders. “Unfortunately, the BSA’s decision calls into question its commitment to leadership and values by perpetuating an outmoded policy rooted in fear and discrimination.