Boy Scouts of America has dismissed a church as one of its charter partners due to the decision to keep a gay troop leader. Parents and troop leaders were informed on April 20 that Rainier Beach United Methodist Church could not host Troop 98 because they were no longer a charter partner. Charter partners not only provide troops with a place to hold meetings and financial support but they are also obligated to abide by the Boy Scout’s guidelines.
Boy Scouts voted in 2013 to allow gay boys to join the scouts but it still has not given the same privilege to adult leaders who are gay. Less than a year ago, the church asked Geoff McGrath to lead its chapter of the Boy Scouts. McGrath, an openly gay Eagle Scout member, is also married. He is the first gay adult to have his leadership status removed by the Boy Scouts organization; however the church kept him on as a Scoutmaster.
Monica Corsaro, Pastor of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, said they were not consulted before having their partnership revoked. Corsaro said this seems to go against everything the Boy Scouts stand for. Whenever there is a dispute with a partner there should be an attempt to work it out first. This is a clear sign that this church was never viewed as an equal partner.
Deron Smith, director of communication for Boy Scouts of America, said the organization did not have any other choice but to withdraw the church’s charter once they refused to follow the terms outlined in the organization policies and agreement. Smith went on to say they are saddened by this development but are committed to the goal of providing youth with the best possible Scouting experience.
The Boy Scouts have no plans on reviewing its policy which bans gay adults. The church is no longer authorized to offer the Scouting program but a Seattle-area community center has offered to take over Troop 98.
The executive director of Scouts for Equality, Zach Wahls, said the decision of the Scouts only serves to hurt a group of boys in need of the leadership and values that a person like Scoutmaster McGrath could provide. This decision calls into question the Boy Scout organization’s commitment to these values by continuing to perpetuate an outdated policy which stems from discrimination and fear.
The Scouts of Equality is an organization which does not support the Boy Scouts of America’s ban against troop leaders who are homosexual. The organization, which was established in 2012, is serious about its goal to end all discrimination within the Boy Scouts. They will continue to advocate against the Boys Scouts until it fully adopts an inclusive membership policy.
The homosexual community as a whole has made heaps of momentum within the political and social realms of society. Many people in the public eye have expressed their love for other same-sex individuals while others who are heterosexual have pledged their support and are pushing for equal rights for all humanity, including the gay community.
Boy Scouts of America has revoked the charter partnership of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church due to their decision to keep a gay troop leader. The Boy Scouts of America voted in May 2013 to change its policy against the homosexual community of boys but did not change its stance against adult gays from becoming troop leaders. Although no youth will be turned away because of their sexual orientation as it stands currently adult gays will not be allowed.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)