In a year-end editorial, the National Catholic Reporter has named Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon persons of the year for 2015.
Three years ago, Greg Bourke was forced to resign as Assistant Scoutmaster of his son's Boy Scout troop in Louisville, Kentucky because he is openly gay. This occurred despite his involvement with the Boy Scouts for eight years, including six years as a registered leader, and the support of his troop and the church that sponsors his unit. During this time, GLAAD worked with Bourke to help him share his story and urge the Boy Scouts to end its discriminatory ban.
Greg and Michael also joined several same-sex couples in a lawsuit to have the state of Kentucky recognize their marriage. Their lawsuit eventually made it to the US Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of marriage for all in June.
Also this summer, the Boy Scouts removed its ban on LGB leaders. Greg thought he'd be able to return to the organization. However, according to a Change.org petition started by Bourke, the Archdiocese Joseph Kurtz of Louisville decided that Bourke could not rejoin the Boy Scout troop because he is openly gay. In response, Bourke started a petition to ask Archbishop Kurtz to approve his re-application for membership and end his ban on out gay Boy Scout leaders.
Greg and Michael's recognition is due to their dedication to their children, bringing acceptance to the Boy Scouts, and helping bring marriage equality to the United States. They continue to advocate, and we are so proud of them!
Bourke and DeLeon are emblematic of this major challenge facing the church today, because they force us to ask not how will we live out a hypothetical situation, but how will we live with Greg and Michael. They give flesh to an abstraction.
The answers the church is giving now are confused, uneven and often cruel. Greg and Michael -- and countless gay, lesbian and transgender Catholics -- deserve better.
For their historic roles as plaintiffs in Obergefell v. Hodges and for their faithful public witness as gay Catholics, we name Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon NCR's persons of the year for 2015.