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Seattle church loses Boy Scout charter because of gay leader

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By The Associated Press
Monday, April 21, 2014, 9:51 p.m.
 

SEATTLE — The Boy Scouts of America has revoked its charter agreement with a Seattle church that refused to remove a gay troop leader when the organization withdrew his membership.

A Boy Scouts attorney told Rainier Beach United Methodist Church last week that it no longer could host troops under the Boy Scouts name.

The church has stood by Geoff McGrath, 49, a Seattle software engineer and Eagle Scout, since his membership in the organization was revoked last month, setting off an impasse between the church and one of the country's most popular youth organizations.

The Boy Scouts of America told McGrath in a March letter that it had “no choice” but to revoke his registration after he said he was gay while being profiled by NBC News.

Boy Scouts of America officials said McGrath violated the group's leadership qualifications. They said he “deliberately injected his sexuality” into the Scouting program when he made statements to the media and the organization about his sexual orientation.

“As a Reconciling Congregation, it's important to us that we are open to all people,” said the Rev. Monica Corsaro of Rainier Beach United Methodist. The church supports McGrath because his work reflects its spirit and values.

McGrath has led Seattle Troop 98 since its formation last fall. The church also sponsors a Cub Scout Pack for younger boys. About 15 youths participate in the units.

The church has obtained legal counsel to study its options, Corsaro said.

The Boy Scouts began accepting gay youths for the first time this year but has continued to exclude openly gay adults from leadership positions. Gay-rights groups applauded the decision to allow gay youths to participate, but the move angered people who consider homosexuality a sin and a violation of Scouting values.

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