Corporations Giving Big Money to Boy Scouts Despite Antigay Policy

The list of corporate donors to the Boy Scouts of America includes several that support anti-discrimination policies being inclusive of LGBT people.

BY Andy Birkey of The American Independent

September 18 2012 2:27 PM ET

Enforcing the policy
Specific Boy Scout councils that have benefited from donations from these corporate foundations in the past have reportedly kicked out gay scouts and volunteers.

The Cradle of Liberty Council in Philadelphia voted in May 2003 to end its participation in the national policy of discrimination based on sexual orientation. But just weeks later, the council kicked out a scout named Greg Lattera after he told media outlets that he was an openly gay boy scout.

"He decided to hold a press conference to come out as a member of the gay community," William T. Dwyer, the chief executive of the council, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Our staff knew he was gay and never made a big deal about it. He decided to make a big deal about it. The "don't ask, don't tell" policy is pretty clear."

The Inquirer noted that the council’s policy had “no mention of 'don't ask, don't tell.'”

By that summer, the council had adopted a policy that stated: "Applications for leadership and membership do not inquire into sexual orientation. However, an individual who declares himself to be a homosexual would not be permitted to join Scouting.”

News outlets cited threats by the national Boy Scouts of America to revoke the council’s charter if it did not revert to the national policy on gays and scouting.

The council lost hundreds of thousands in grant funding from the United Way, Pew Charitable Trusts, and William Penn Foundation after it dismissed Lattera and changed the policy. The incident also spurred the Philadelphia City Council to review a 1928 agreement that lent the Boy Scout council city land for $1 a year. In 2006, the city raised the rent from $1 to a market rate of $200,000 on the Boy Scouts after the council failed to state that it would not discriminate based on sexual orientation. The Boy Scouts sued and won the right to remain in the building. In 2010, a jury sided with the Boy Scouts on free speech grounds.

Several corporate foundations donated to the Cradle of Liberty Council in 2010. Bank of America gave $1500; Verizon gave $250; and PNC gave $150. UPS appears to have given $5000 - the foundation’s tax form indicated a donation to “Boy Scouts - Cradle of” but the rest was cut off.

Other Boy Scout councils have also kicked out scouts in recent years while taking in funds from corporate foundations.

In July, a 19-year-old who had previously attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Pony Express Council in Missouri reportedly was removed from his job at a Boy Scout camp after coming out as gay. The US Bancorp Foundation gave that council $650 in 2010.

Another Boy Scout employee was fired in late-July in California, prompting 10 of his co-workers to resign in protest. The Golden Empire Council fired Eagle Scout Tim Griffin, who was one of the most senior employees at Camp Winton. Griffin and his fellow employees claim he was fired because he is gay. A spokesperson for the council told local media that he was let go over a dress code violation and his “mannerisms and behavior,” not because of his sexual orientation.

Intel gave $10,000 to the Golden Empire Council in 2010. That same year, Bank of America gave $931, Verizon gave $3,543, Monsanto gave $281, and Nationwide Insurance and Pfizer each gave $200.

In the fall of 2010, the Circle Ten Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Texas told the gay father of a Cub Scout that he could not be a member of the leadership team of his 9-year old son’s pack.

Several corporate foundations have given to the Circle Ten Council. In 2010, Verizon gave $4,440, Bank of America gave $3,940, Abbott gave $225, and Pfizer gave $140.

A Louisville scout leader, Greg Bourke, was asked to resign in August from his son’s troop after the Lincoln Heritage Council learned he was gay, according to the Courrier-Journal.

Bank of America gave the Lincoln Heritage Council $1,100 in 2010.

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