By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com September 20 2012 5:10 PM ET
Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout raised by two lesbian moms, first made waves when his impassioned speech in support of marriage equality in Iowa went viral last year, then as a speaker at the Democratic National Convention and in his latest activism he has launched a campaign asking Intel to stop funding the antigay Boy Scouts of America.
In a Change.org petition, Wahls points out that by funding the Boy Scouts, Intel is violating its own donation policy, which stipulates that the company will not fund "organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, veteran, or disability status." The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has signed on to support Wahls and promote the petition.
An investigation by The American Independent, which was also posted by The Advocate, found that the Intel Foundation donated $700,000 to BSA in 2010 despite BSA's recent affirmation of its discriminatory policy banning gay scouts and gay or lesbian scout leaders or den parents.
"As an Eagle Scout, I applaud Intel's support fort the Boy Scouts of America as a vital American institution critical in the development of our nation's future leaders," Wahls writes in the petition, which already has more than 13,000 signatures. "But on July 17, 2012, the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed their discriminatory policy, stating in part: '…we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals…'
"Until the Boy Scouts of America removes this hurtful policy that is inconsistent with its own principles, they do not deserve the financial backing of companies that strive for workplace equality — especially innovators like Intel."
Wahls also founded a pro-gay group called Scouts for Equality, which currently boasts more than 1,500 members, according to its website. Nearly 300 Eagle Scouts have returned their medals in protest of BSA's discriminatory policies.
Wahls has previously called on the Boy Scouts to reveal the identities of the 11-member committee that supposedly investigated whether to allow gay scouts and opted against it. He's pledged to approach local chapters to press for anti-discrimination policies.
The activist first got involved with the Boy Scouts issue after lesbian den mother Jennifer Tyrrell was kicked out of a group. Wahls delivered a petition with 275,000 names calling for an end to the ban.