LOUISVILLE, Ky., Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Despite a July vote to end a ban on openly gay adult leaders, former gay Boy Scout leader Greg Bourke was still prohibited from being in the high ranks of a Louisville church-sponsored troop.
Bourke, who was active in pushing for the legalization of same-sex unions, was told Tuesday that he could not be a Boy Scout leader for a troop in a Catholic parish named Our Lady of Lourdes. This comes after the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board's decision on July 27 to lift its ban on openly gay adult leaders and employees, with 79 percent voting in favor of the resolution.
"No youth may be denied membership to our organization on the basis of sexual orientation alone," said national president Robert M. Gates in a Youtube video.
However, the new policy still allows church-sponsored units to choose unit leaders based on their beliefs, even if these get in the way of allowing homosexual individuals to assume leadership roles. Bourke, who was forced to resign in 2012 when he announced that he was gay, said that his pastor told him he could not be a leader again despite the new policy.
Bourke told WLKY News that he was deeply disappointed about the church's decision to deny him his former role. A mother whose Boy Scout child was formerly under Bourke's leadership said Bourke is everything a Boy Scout leader should be and that without him, her son's experience will be different.
Our Lady of Lourdes spokeswoman Cecilia Price told USA Today said the institution has the right and responsibility to choose leaders whose character and conduct are consistent with the teachings of the church.
The National Catholic Committee on Scouting said that while the lifted ban respects the needs of Catholic-chartered organizations to choose leaders consistent with their principles, it does not make sufficiently clear the idea that sexual behavior should be reserved to a husband and wife in marriage.
Bourke and partner Michael De Leon were on the petitioners pushing for the June 26 Supreme Court legalization of same-sex unions.