The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has told a church that it may no longer host a troop of which a gay man is the leader.
Just months after the BSA changed its policy to allow openly gay scout members, the organisation used its policy still banning gay scouting leaders to “revoke” the position of one of its leaders.
Geoff McGrath, a 49-year-old, was the leader of Troop 98 until earlier this month, when he had his leadership of the troop “revoked”.
The BSA on Sunday announced that it would contact leaders and parents of the children in Seattle-area Troop 98, as well as its Cub Scout pack, to announce that Rainer Beach United Methodist Church is no longer an authorised charter partner.
The church earlier this year vowed to keep McGrath on as a leader, despite the BSA’s policy which bans openly gay adult leaders and volunteers.
Despite saying that it was “saddened by this development”, the BSA told NBC: “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.”
Reverend Monica Corsaro of the church said she had expected the move by the BSA, but said her congregation’s stance against discrimination had not been respected.
She described the move as a “unilateral decision” by the BSA, and that the church had not bee contacted. The BSA, however, said Reverend Corsaro had not been contactable during the Christian Holy Week.
McGrath said he was “shocked” by the decision.
“It’s just so astounding to me that they would take this tiny, small issue and dissolve two units over it without having a proper conversation with the pastor,” he said.
Following his sacking earlier this month, McGrath said: “I have not tended my resignation. Until I am relieved of my duty properly, I stand in my post.”
A local community centre has offered to take over the troop, the BSA’s Seattle leader said.