Financial supporters of the Boy Scouts of America have been under firm pressure by gay rights organizations demanding that companies take a stand against the youth organization whose policy discriminates against people based on their sexual orientation.
The push might just be working. This week the BSA lost funding from their largest corporate funder, Intel, which reportedly gave the youth organization more than $700,000 in 2010.
The move resulted from a campaign launched by Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality, who started a campaign at Change.org. He urged Intel to pull funding for BSA after an American Independent report disclosed that the company gave large contributions to the organization. With the support of GLAAD and the signatures of 30,000 Americans, Wahls pushed the Intel Foundation to halt their financial support to the BSA.
In a statement to ThinkProgress, Intel reaffirmed their policy, claiming that it will not fund “organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, veteran or disability status.”
According to ThinkProgress, prospective recipients of Intel grants will now have to sign a statement confirming that they do not discriminate based on creed or sexual orientation, and any groups that cannot do so will be ineligible for funding.
Under the policy, Boy Scout troops and councils that refuse to uphold the BSA’s discriminating policy would still be eligible for funding. Intel’s Chief Diversity Officer, Rosalind Hudnell, wrote in the statement;
Due to significant growth in the number of organizations funded, earlier this year we revisited our policies associated with the program, and applied new rigor that requires any organization to confirm that it adheres to Intel’s anti-discrimination policy in order to receive funding. Intel is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and to supporting the communities in which we live and work.
Trouble first started brewing for the BSA in April 2012 when Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom and den leader from Ohio was removed from her 7-year-old’s Cub Scout Pack for being gay. GLAAD then started the lean on the BSA to end their ban on gay scouts and scout leaders by starting a Change.org petition in support of Tyrell. The petition attracted more than 330,000 signatures.
Since then, gay rights supporters have been demanding that the BSA reverse their policy. CEOs for both AT&T and Ernst and Young issued statements saying they disagreed with the ban on gay scouts and scout leaders and supported a proposed resolution to end the ban.
Even President Obama and Mitt Romney agree that the BSA should not discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.
Many families have chosen to boycott the youth organization, removing their sons from troops or not permitting their sons to join in protest of the anti-gay policy. This choice has opened many family conversations around the dinner table about gay rights and discrimination.
The BSA has agreed to review the ban on homosexuals but as of now, no changes have been announced.
Should the Boy Scouts give in to pressure to lift the ban? Is your family boycotting the BSA? Do you talk to your children about gay rights? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.