BY William McGuinness
April 07 2010 5:15 PM ET
Other groups have registered similar concerns in recent years.
2008, Lambda Legal wrote a complaint to Los Angeles’s then-city attorney
Rocky Delgadillo, asking that the city terminate its relationship with Learning for Life. Lambda claimed there is no distinction between Learning for Life
and BSA and that city sponsorship of the Los Angeles police and the fire departments’ Learning for Life Explorers programs ran afoul of both the
city's antidiscrimination policy and municipal law.
Brian Chase, a Lambda senior staff attorney and author of the complaint, said the organizations share offices and intermingle finances, membership data, directors, and personnel.
“Only a tissue-thin layer of corporate formality, if even that, separates LFL from the BSA,” Chase said. "There is no 'justice' in allowing a discriminatory entity like the BSA to skirt antidiscrimination laws by simply filing a few incorporation forms. ... There is no 'justice' for gay and lesbian students in public schools who are sent the implicit message that the city supports the BSA in its discriminatory practices."
In 2005, Learning for Life reported in public tax documents required of all registered nonprofits that 95% of its $180.6 million in annual funding was paid for by BSA trusts and the National BSA Foundation. In 2001, The Dallas Morning News reported that the BSA was also including Learning for Life members in promotional material sent to donors while the group was blasted with negative publicity following its Supreme Court case.
Desmund Wu, another Lambda attorney, testified to the LAPD's board of police commissioners in October, asking the city to end its relationship with Learning for Life.
LAPD police commissioner Rob Saltzman questioned BSA officials, also in October, about Lambda's initial complaint. The LAPD decided to discontinue its funding and operation of the chapter and is now creating its own youth outreach program instead.