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US: Caterpillar Inc cuts ties with Boy Scouts over lack of progress on gay leadership

June 13, 2013
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Caterpillar Inc, best known for producing construction equipment, have cut ties between their charitable foundation and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). However, unlike recent groups to pull support the Scouts, Caterpillar say BSA did not go far enough with their decision to allow gay members into the organisation.

Back in May, BSA’s final vote on the issue of gay members took place in Dallas-Fort Worth, Grapevine, where over 60% of the 1,400 strong national council of local leaders, voted to lift the national ban. The ban on adult members remains in place.

On Wednesday the largest Protestant denomination in the US, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), adopted a resolution to disapprove of BSA’s decision to allow gay youth members.

The resolution does not sever any ties with BSA. However, individual congregations are allowed to do so, and several Baptist and other-denomination churches across the country have already pulled their sponsorship

“We’re a Bible-believing church, and the Boy Scouts have opted to pursue a different moral path. It’s a sad time for us,” said Buck Storm, associate pastor of the Candlelight Christian Fellowship. The Idaho-based church is one of the latest to decide to cut ties with the Scouts.

In a statement on Wednesday, the same day as the SBC announced their disapproval, Caterpillar Inc said:

“While we applaud the decision by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) that youth may no longer be denied membership on the basis of sexual orientation or preference, the fact remains that the BSA continues a policy that does not allow adult leaders who are open or avowed homosexuals.

“Because this policy does not align with Caterpillar’s enterprise policies on discrimination against sexual minorities, the Caterpillar Foundation does not invest in the BSA.”

The Foundation was reviewing a $25,000 (£15,946) grant renewal request from BSA as part of a longstanding sponsorship, according to spokesperson Rachel Potts.

BSA has strong ties to various churches across the US, with about 70% of the group’s 100,000+ units chartered by faith-based organisations.

The two largest religious sponsors of the Boy Scouts, the Mormon Church, and the United Methodist Church, have both said they will continue their roles in scouting.

The third-largest sponsor, the Catholic Church, has acknowledged that the change in policy does not take place until January 2014, and has said it will use the ”adequate time to study its effects.”

Related topics: Americas, Boy Scouts, Boy Scouts of America, BSA, Discrimination, gay scouts, US

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