Pastor Monica Cosaro: The Boy Scouts banned my congregation because we support gay people

Dr. Monica Cosaro, pastor of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church in Seattle, Washington, has written an op-ed for Time.com entitled "Boy Scouts Banned My Church Because We Support Gays." The congregation had its Boy Scout charter revoked on Good Friday because of the church's support for an openly gay Scoutmaster. In the op-ed Pastor Cosaro talks about the values of the congregation and how they feel the Boy Scouts are punishing them for those values.

We didn’t choose Geoff McGrath as a political statement. We chose Geoff because he was the perfect person for the job, an Eagle Scout himself, and someone who has a Master’s degree in Social Work. He has mentoring and leadership skills that someone taking on this role needs. A perfect fit. Geoff was quite willing, to serve as scoutmaster but was also nervous that his being gay would pose a problem for me and for the congregation. I assured him that putting him in the leadership of this troop would reflect and live out the values of our congregation, and that we would not have a troop at Rainier Beach UMC unless it was fully inclusive, because that is who we are.

Apparently, who we are is a problem for the Boy Scouts of America. Our congregation’s new troop was welcomed warmly by the Chief Seattle Council with full knowledge of the values of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, as well as who Geoff McGrath is. Our congregation is the religious partner in this chartering relationship, and it troubles me that our belief that God created and loves each and every one of us, just as we are is being ignored and in fact denied by the Boy Scouts of America.

Read the full op-ed at Time.com.

Rainier Beach United Methodist Church is represented by Friedman | Rubin Law Offices.

Thirty-nine Washington state legislators have signed a letter in support of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church's decision to stand by McGrath, writing that they're "deeply troubled" as "discrimination against gay people is unacceptable."

In May 2013, the BSA approved a landmark resolution that allowed gay youth to participate in Scouting. The Boy Scouts opted to maintain its ban on gay and lesbian parents and adults, however.

An April 2014 Rasmussen poll shows that favorable views of the Boy Scouts continue to decrease, with a 6% decline since May 2013. 

GLAAD first started calls for the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on gay Scouts and Scout leaders in April 2012 after Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom and den leader from Ohio was removed from her 7-year-old’s Cub Scout pack for being gay. Tyrrell’s Change.org petition has attracted more than 350,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and adult leaders.

More than 1.8 million people have joined Change.org petition campaigns since Tyrrell launched her first petition. Since that day, advocacy efforts and successful petition campaigns have recruited two Boy Scout board members -- AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Ernst & Young CEO James Turley -- to denounce the national anti-gay policy. GLAAD, together with Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality Zach Wahls, have also used Change.org petitions to pressure corporate donors such as the Intel Foundation and the UPS Foundation to pull funding until the Boy Scouts ends its policy banning gay youth and parents. In 2012, a Bay Area mother named Karen Andresen petitioned her local Boy Scout council to honor her son Ryan with an Eagle Award that was denied to him when the Scout came out as gay. An official Eagle Board Board of Review unanimously approved Ryan's application for Eagle, but a Boy Scout executive ultimately rejected his application.

For a full timeline of events leading up to today's vote, please visit http://glaad.org/timeline.

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