Members of a pro-gay advocacy group Scouts for Equality, has begun work to push gay-friendly donors to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), to question the organisation’s ban on gay volunteers, members and staff.
The Boy Scouts of America is currently embroiled in a debate over whether to lift its ban on gay volunteers, members and staff. Earlier in February, it delayed a vote on whether or not to lift the ban until May “due to the complexity of the issue”.
Scouts for Equality is using the time the BSA is gearing up for its final vote on the issue, by writing to philanthropic foundations such as Nationwide and American Electric Power, to start a discussion on how the BSA’s anti-gay policy may clash with their own nondiscrimination policies.
Dave Bernard, an Eagle Scout, told Dispatch.com that he wanted the BSA to lift its discriminatory ban. He said: “This is clearly something that’s important to a lot of companies, and they take pride in being open and inclusive,
“But then to go ahead and support an organization that is, for the time being, very staunchly anti-equality is something they need to account for.”
Some organisations which currently donate to the BSA, including The United Way of Central Ohio, and the Nationwide Insurance Foundation, have said they are watching for the outcome of the BSA’s vote in May.
Scouts for Equality have insisted that their aim is not to deprive the BSA of its funding from philanthropic groups, but to push the organisation to be accepting of gay volunteers, members and staff.
The Boy Scouts have lost funding from several large corporate donors over the policy, including UPS, back in November, who had given over $150,000 (£95,000), Intel, another of the scouts’ largest donors, ceased funding back in September, and the Merck Foundation in December.
A California bill which would remove the tax exempt status from youth groups such as the Boy Scouts of America, if they uphold policies excluding gay members, underwent its first committee hearing last week.