The Boy Scouts of America has revoked the charter of a Seattle church that refused to fire its pack's gay scoutmaster, according to a letter written by the organization's general counsel and provided to CNN by the church.
Pack and Troop 98 is composed of about 15 boys, and according to attorney Steven McGowan's letter, they will have an opportunity to transfer to another troop.
"As you are aware the policy of the Boy Scouts of America does not allow open or avowed homosexuals to serve as volunteer adult leaders," read McGowan's letter to an attorney representing Rainier Beach United Methodist Church.
The church received its charter in November and hired Geoff McGrath, a 49-year-old Eagle Scout, to lead the troop. The Rev. Monica Corsaro said she knew McGrath was gay, and she wasn't trying to make any political statement by hiring him.
"We were not hiding," she said. "We are talking about real people that are being effected by a policy of discrimination ... by a policy that BSA teaches, so we are just calling it out."
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The Boy Scouts of America board was expected to vote on whether to lift their national ban on gay members yesterday, but they pushed the decision back to May during their annual meeting.
Gay rights supporters like Jennifer Tyrrell, who was a cub scout den leader in Ohio until the organization dismissed her for being a lesbian, will now have to wait another few months for what they hope will be a historic announcement.
Tyrrell discusses the Boy Scouts' decision on "Early Start" today, saying that while she's a bit disappointed by the organization's choice, "if they need a little time to make the right decision then that’s what they need to do."
"I feel very optimistic. It’s the first time they've not said no," Tyrell says. "I’m hopeful. I just have to hold onto that belief that they’re going to be on the right side of history and if we have to wait until May, then we have to wait until May."
Tyrell also responds to Family Research Council president Tony Perkins' comment on Starting Point yesterday, when he said that he wouldn't want to send his child on a camping trip with a homosexual man.
"I think that he has a twisted view of things," Tyrell says. "I think that adults of whichever sexual orientation are not typically attracted to children. So I don’t know why his mind keeps going there. He may want to look into that."
The Boy Scouts are considering a major shift in their policy toward homosexuals and their board could vote to lift the national ban on gay scouts and leaders today. If that happens, local troops will decide on their own whether or not to accept gays.
After James Dale was expelled from the Boy Scouts in 1990 for being gay, he filed a lawsuit against the organization in New Jersey State court saying his expulsion violated New Jersey's state law against discrimination. His case made it to the Supreme Court in 2000, and it was ruled that the Boy Scouts could refuse membership to people who identify as gay.
Dale joins Early Start this morning to comment on today's vote, saying that he thinks it's "great that they’re having a conversation about this but I think it’d be more important if they did the right thing once and for all."
"What they’re going to do now is kick the can down the road and delay the inevitable," Dale says. "They can’t continue to discriminate... Unfortunately I think what they’re going to do today is compromise. They’re going to go half way."
Dale also responds to a comment by the president of the Southern Baptist Convention Richard Land on Starting Point yesterday, when he said that allowing gays could be a "catastrophe" that would propel many members to leave the Scouts.
"I’m not going to comment about what a small minded hate monger has to say about discrimination issues," Dale says.
Irving, Texas (CNN) - The polarizing debate over whether Boy Scouts of America should allow gay members could culminate with a vote on a new policy Wednesday.
But no matter which way the vote goes, activists on both sides aren't going to be satisfied.
The controversy pits leaders of religious groups that sponsor about 1 million Boy Scouts against activists who want the organization to end its ban on openly gay Scouts and Scout leaders.
Representatives from both camps aren't happy with a proposal to let local troops decide if they want to allow gay members.
This morning on "Early Start," Casey Wian reports on the highly anticipated vote.