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US: Winger’s food chain to back both Boy Scouts and LGBT Prom to promote ‘diversity’

March 25, 2013
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Several restaurants have stepped up to replace Chipotle as caterer for the Utah Scout-O-Rama, with one also pledging to fund a Queer Prom to balance out any controversy tied to the Scout’s ban on gay members.

Chipotle had pledged to provide $4,200 (£2,760) in meals for the May 2013 Scout-O-Rama, a Boy Scouts of America (BSA) event which attracts around 20,000 people to Utah.

They pulled out of the event after BSA delayed making a decision on whether to open their membership to gay people, saying the Scouts were “not consistent” with their anti-discrimination policy.

Winger’s Roadhouse, Madeline’s Steakhouse and Utah Sports Lodge then pledged to replace Chipotle. Winger’s announced on the same day that it was giving an equivalent donation to the Utah Pride Centre’s Queer Prom.

Their spokesperson, Curt Gray, said in a statement on Friday that the restaurant wanted to promote diversity and acceptance.

“Winger’s Roadhouse Grill is committed to making our communities a better place to live and work. We recognize and appreciate the diversity that exists in our communities, and believe that diversity, and the acceptance of diversity, is what makes us great,” he said.

The Utah Pride Center’s executive, Valerie Larabee, said the restaurant chain had found “a way to recognize the needs of all youth” by backing both groups.

Rick Barnes of the Great Salt Lake Council, the area’s local Boy Scout authority, supported Winger’s backing of the Scout-O-Rama.

Mr Barnes said:”We respect the LGBTQ community. They certainly have the right to live and associate the way they want. We have membership standards that are in place, and we ask that others respect those.”

“In essence, [BSA] have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy right now,” he added.

Earlier this month both Carly Rae Jepsen and San Francisco band Train pulled out of headlining at the Scouts annual jamboree, because of its ongoing ban on allowing gay members, volunteers and staff.

A rally recently delivered a petition with 1.4 million signatures pushing for the Boy Scouts of America to drop its ban. 

Back in January, President Barack Obama said that he thought gay people should be allowed in the Boy Scouts of America, and that “nobody should be barred” from the experience of being a scout.

The Boy Scouts have already lost funding from several large corporate donors, including UPS, back in November, who had given over $150,000 (£95,000) to the BSA, and Intel, another of the scouts’ largest donors, ceased funding back in September.

More: Americas, atheism, Boy Scouts, boy scouts of america. chipotle, BSA, diversity, funding, Gay rights, lgbt youth, prom, queer prom, US, Utah

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