Miami-Dade United Way drops Scouts

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com May 14 2003 11:00 PM ET

The United Way of Miami-Dade will no longer give nearly a half-million dollars a year to the local chapter of the Boy Scouts of America, citing the chapter's failure to provide gay sensitivity training for its leaders. At a private meeting Tuesday, the United Way's board of directors voted unanimously to discontinue the annual $480,000 grant after the agency's current fund-raising campaign ends June 30. The funds represent about 20% of the Scouts' South Florida Council's operating budget. Most of the money goes to programs in the area's poorer communities. "It's a serious blow to the council's ability to deliver scouting programs," council spokesman Jeff Herrmann said.

At least 50 other United Way offices nationwide, including those in Seattle and San Francisco, have pulled their contributions since a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Scouts' right to bar gays as members or leaders. Miami-Dade's United Way based its decision to suspend funding on its belief that the Boy Scouts agreed in 2001 to implement training to help Scout leaders be sensitive in dealing with children who have trouble coping with sexuality issues. Herrmann said the Boy Scouts never agreed to such a deal. "Sex education and sexual orientation are not part of our program, and we're unwilling to make them part of our program," he said.