Openly gay boy scout leader forced to resign, starts petition


by Claudia Coffey

Posted on September 17, 2012 at 5:11 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 17 at 5:23 PM

(WHAS11) -- A gay boy scout leader who was forced out is now fighting back. Greg Bourke was forced to resign in August after revealing to the Kentucky based Boy Scout Council that he was gay. Now, he's launched a campaign to change what he calls a discriminatory policy.

Bourke has launched a petition drive to not only get him reinstated but ask the national council to change its policy against openly gay leaders.
"It has been frustrating for me and I am trying to make lemonade out of lemons right now," said Bourke.
Bourke, an openly gay boy scout leader at our Lady of Lourdes was forced to resign from Troop 325. He says other chapters around the country have taken a stand and he wants the local chapter to do the same.
"I would like to see the Lincoln heritage Council of Louisville Kentucky do the same thing. It would be a very brave thing to do, A scout is supposed to be brave. So I would challenge them to do that," said Bourke.
Already he has 2,500 signatures and from parents, community leaders and scouts many who left very personal notes on his petition page such as this.
"Everyone should have the same rights no matter race religion or sexual orientation."
"I'm a former boy scout and gay. I learned a lot about being a boy scout , most of which I probably wouldn't have put the effort into learning. No one should be denied the chance to learn something new because of their sexual orientation. "
"I am an Eagle Scout who is happily married with 2 daughters and I support any parents right to be an integral part of their child's activities regardless of sexual orientation."

Bourke who has two adopted children says he is overwhelmed by the support.

"On my petition I have had several of my scouts write about my leadership capability, what I have meant to them and that's been so touching for me. I really appreciate that."

Bourke remains a girl scout leader for his daughters troop because that organization has a different policy.

His hope is that the local organization will denounce the national policy and ask them to change it.

The Lincoln Heritage Council was contacted and did not comment on Bourke's request to be reinstated and said they were not familiar with the petition.