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Kentucky Boy Scout Troop Rejects Gay Leader

boy scout

Photo: Greg Bourke and his son via Facebook

A gay Boy Scout leader has been rejected from a Kentucky troop.

Greg Bourke, who was featured in the 2013 Out100, submitted an application to become a leader of Boy Scout Troop 325, a church-sponsored unit in Louisville, Ky.

But his application was vetoed by Rev. Scott Wimsatt, the pastor of the Catholic parish, Our Lady of Lourdes, reports USA Today.

“My heart is broken that my church would now present the barrier to my returning to my Boy Scout unit,” Bourke stated in a Facebook post Tuesday.

An activist, Bourke had been among those to fight for change in the BSA. Moreover, he and his partner Michael De Leon were plaintiffs in Bourke v. Beshear, a lead case on same-sex marriage in Kentucky. The case was later consolidated by the U.S. Supreme Court into Obergefell v. Hodges, which decided nationwide marriage equality.

He had previously served as leader in the troop, before he came out in 2012 and was forced to resign. Bourke had applied when the Boy Scouts of America’s national board voted last month to lift its ban on gay leaders.

boy scout

Greg Bourke, David Knapp and Pascal Tessier

However, the youth organization made exemptions for its religious chartering partners.

To clarify its policy in light of these exemptions, the archdiocese sent a statement to pastors last week, stating:

“We have both the right and the responsibility to choose leaders whose character and conduct are consistent with church teaching. Pastoral leaders in these ministries should be able to provide a credible and integrated witness in their lives to the teachings of the Catholic Church, including its teachings on marriage, sexuality, and charity.”

The vote by BSA’s national board has left many religious groups debating how to proceed. The Mormon church has considered breaking away to form its own youth organization. Other groups see it as an opportunity for change.

Mark Lawrence, a leader of the Utah organization Restore Our Humanity, says it will sponsor a Utah troop, in order to create a new model for gay acceptance, reports the Associated Press.

"I think it's important for us to do this now," he said.

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