By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com December 04 2012 2:33 PM ET
An organization of former Boy Scouts is urging telecommunications giant Verizon to end its partnership with the Boy Scouts of America because of its policy barring gay leaders and members.
Scouts for Equality, founded by Eagle Scout and activist Zach Wahls, are leading a petition drive asking Verizon's philanthropic arm, the Verizon Foundation, to stop donating funds to the scouts. According to the petition, The Verizon Foundation gave more than $315,000 in grants to the Boy Scouts in 2010, even though the company has an explicit policy to not donate to groups that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
Earlier efforts from Wahls have persuaded Intel and UPS to end their funding of the Boy Scouts of America. So far, 59,000 people have signed the petition on Change.org asking Verizon to adhere to the policy.
“As far back as 2001, the American Medical Association has been urging the Boy Scouts to end its anti-gay policy because of the psychological trauma it could cause young people," Wahls said in a statement Tuesday. "Does Verizon really want to be responsible for funding this hurtful and potentially dangerous policy?”
The BSA have also been known to reject non-religious or Athiest members, a move that their U.K. counterparts have recently decided to change. The Scout Association of the U.K. also has begun allowing openly gay members.