After the Boy Scouts let him be a leader, Greg Bourke's church still bans him

Last month, the Boy Scouts of America made history when it unanimously voted to end its ban on lesbian, gay, and bisexual leaders. But even with this historic decision, Greg Bourke, a gay leader, is being denied membership due to discrimination from the church.

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.

When the Boy Scouts removed its ban on LGB leaders earlier this summer, Bourke thought he'd be able to return to the organization. However, according to a 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 the petition to ask Archbishop Kurtz to approve his re-application for membership and end his ban on out gay Boy Scout leaders.

According to Bourke, Kurtz's actions "make [the] Archdiocese of Louisville the only religious-based entity in America that has taken a formal stand and implemented this ban on openly gay Scout leaders." And this is not the first time that Kurtz has taken a stand against the LGBT community. According to the petition, when Bourke and his husband fought to have their marriage recognized in Kentucky, Kurtz fought against it, which is no surprise considering his vocal opposition to marriage equality. And as the current President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the highest ranking Catholic office in the U.S., he has a lot of power and could set a precedent for other Catholic bishops and their policies.

It's also important to keep in mind that Bourke's situation is not an anomaly. In the last few weeks, a Catholic educator named Margie Winters was fired for being a lesbian, and Equally Blessed, a coalition of LGBT Catholics, was denied use of a Philadelphia church they had previously reserved. Perhaps even more importantly, Bourke's situation adds to the other 52 people that have been fired, forced to resign, had offers rescinded, or had their jobs threatened over LGBT issues since 2008, according to New Ways Ministry.

Even as a lifelong practicing Catholic and active member of his church for the last 28 years, Bourke is still faced with anti-gay discrimination. With the Pope's upcoming visit to the United States, now is the time to bring these situations of discrimination to the forefront of the discussion on LGBT Catholics. In addition, Kurtz and other Catholic leaders will be at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September, and unless we talk about situations like Bourke's, these issues will continue to be left out of the conversation.

Be sure to visit to sign the petition to end Kurtz's ban on out gay leaders. You can also check out GLAAD's recently released Pope Playbook to read more about Kurtz's statements against LGBT people and marriage equality.