A church in Washington state is standing by the leader of a Boy Scout Troop it sponsors after he was banned for being gay.

Geoff McGrath, a 49-year-old married Eagle Scout and leader of Troop 98 in Seattle, had his membership revoked by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) after the organization found out that McGrath is gay.

Local BSA officials said they did not inquire about McGrath's sexual orientation when he started a troop last fall.

Sharon Moulds of the Chief Seattle Council said that she was not aware that McGrath is gay until after NBC News contacted her in the course of preparing a story on Troop 98 and its leader.

“It was then that we became aware of his intentions to make a public statement about his orientation and use our program as a means to further a personal agenda,” Moulds told NBC News in an email.

The BSA ended its policy banning openly gay scouts in January, but gays over 18 are not allowed to participate in the program.

Despite knowing it went against BSA policy, Rainer Beach United Methodist Church asked McGrath to serve as Scoutmaster.

“It's very disappointing that a policy that is so blatantly discriminatory is being acted out, and so I think it makes us stand more firm and be more clear that Geoffrey is our Scoutmaster and Geoffrey will remain our Scoutmaster,” Reverend Monica Corsaro told Seattle's King5. “In my humble opinion, I don't feel like I've been communicated to by the Boy Scouts of America. Geoffrey also received an email which I was copied on but I have received no direct communication from the Boy Scouts of America.”

McGrath added: “I have not tendered my resignation. Until I am relieved of my duty properly, I stand in my post.”

Supporters on Thursday held a rally backing McGrath.

(Related: Gay boy scout Pascal Tessier asks Amazon to withdraw its support of the Boy Scouts.)