Protesters gather outside Bellingham camp that fired gay counselor

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Protesters gathered outside the Bellingham summer camp that fired one of its counselors when staff learned he's gay.

The summer camp is run by the faith-based Firs organization, and the Monday morning protests are happening on the first day of camp.

Jace Taylor, 18, says he was hired by Firs to be a camp counselor at their Fir Creek Day Camp. But before he could start his job, he says he was terminated because management at the Christian organization found out he was gay.

Taylor says he was especially hurt because he grew up with this faith-based group.

"I feel kind of betrayed,” he said. “I feel like they had loved and accepted me for so long up to now, and just to have this erupt., ‘you can’t work for us because of who you are,’ is confusing and frustrating."

Firs confirmed Taylor was fired because of his sexual orientation, but Taylor says he won't attend the protest.

The Bellingham Herald says his family issued a statement saying they were supportive of the efforts.

“In the end, I would really like to see their minds changed,” protestor Cherrelyn Seegers said. “I don’t know if they’ll come around this year, but there’s an opportunity for them to have discussions with other organizations who have been inclusive."

The Opportunity Council announced it was terminating its more than 25-year-long kitchen lease with the Firs, saying “The Firs recent personnel actions are not compatible with our agency`s values.”