A Tennessee church that had supported a local Boy Scouts troop for more than 50 years asked the group to meet elsewhere after the national organization revised bylaws this summer to accept gay and lesbian adult leaders, USA Today reported Wednesday.
The church is the third in the state to sever ties with the Boy Scouts since they became accepting of out gay leaders, said Boy Scouts executive Larry Brown, who declined to name the other religious establishments in his interview with USA Today. Churches in other states have also decided to reject local troops.
Brown told the paper that the North Boulevard Church of Christ in Murfreesboro, Tenn., had given the matter "a great deal of thought" and "decided to drop their charter with the Boy Scouts of America and the Middle Tennessee Council," an area consortium of troops.
He told the paper that the Church of Christ, which reported more than 1,700 members in 2014 has given the approximately 100 Boy Scouts members time to find a new meeting location.
"We are trying to find new sponsors that would be willing to sponsor their units," Brown said in a phone interview with USA Today. "We have right at 600 churches and other groups like civic clubs that are charter partners with us. We have three out of 600 that have decided to leave."
Brown told the paper that he hopes North Boulevard Church of Christ will reconsider its decision to sever ties.
"North Boulevard Church of Christ has been an outstanding partner with Boy Scouts Middle Tennessee Council for over 50 years, producing hundreds of great citizens and community leaders, and we welcome them to come back and partner with the Middle Tennessee Council at any time," Brown told the paper.
Every leader in Boy Scouts has to sign a declaration of belief in God, he added.
Churches supporting Boy Scouts troops across the country have been supportive of the rule change. The Blackman United Methodist Church Council informed the Boy Scouts that they trusted its troop to make leadership decisions, USA Today reported.
Laura Bohling whose gay son is an Eagle Scout with a troop that meets at the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints in the same county as the ousted troop told the paper that the Murfreesboro church had been accepting.
"I would say that I'm disappointed for a storied program like the one at North Boulevard Church of Christ for those kids not being able to continue," Bohling told the paper. She said that in order to become a scout leader at her church, all a boy had to do was "be a person in good standing."