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Seattle: Boy Scouts breaks ties with area church for supporting gay scoutmaster

Boy Scout leader John Stemberger, founder of Myhonor.net, speaks to reporters at the Gaylord Texan Resort May 23, 2013 in Grapevine, Texas.
Boy Scout leader John Stemberger, founder of Myhonor.net, speaks to reporters at the Gaylord Texan Resort May 23, 2013 in Grapevine, Texas.(Photo by Stewart House/Getty Images)

The Boy Scouts of America aren’t happy with a Seattle-area church because of its support for openly gay troop leader George McGrath. BSA currently has a ban on gay troop leaders and fired McGrath last month. According to a report by the New York Daily News on April 21, the organization told Rainier Beach United Methodist Church it can no longer serve as home base for newly formed scout Troop 98 because the church supported McGrath continuing his role as leader.

BSA said that they are contacting leaders and the parents of the children in Troop 98 regarding their decision to distance itself from Rainer Beach United Methodist Church as a charter partner because an openly gay man was allowed to run the troop, which went against BSA policy. Deron Smith, A Boy Scouts spokesman, said that the church broke its agreement and therefore couldn’t serve as a place for meeting.

“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.”

Although the decision is disappointing, the BSA’s top leader in Seattle has assured parents that the pack and troop will have a new home as a local community center has offered to take over the services provided by Rainer Beach United Methodist Church. The church did expect the move, but as Rev. Monica Corsaro points out, BSA was also not respectful of her congregation’s anti-discrimination beliefs. She made it clear that her church was not consulted on the decision. She told NBC News that the move “seems to go against everything the Boy Scouts is about.”

The organization booted McGrath, 49, stating its national policy barred gay adults from membership. The scoutmaster, who was the first adult banned from the Boy Scouts of America since it changed its policy banning gay youth, won approval to run the troop despite BSA’s ban against gay adults. After he was booted, Seattle’s top BSA official claimed that they never knew of McGrath’s sexual orientation. BSA’s current ban on gay adults has lead major sponsors like Disney to stop financial support to the organization because the ban goes against its anti-discrimination policy.