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Gay quandary: Royalties for "God Bless America" go to Boy Scouts

Gay quandary: Royalties for "God Bless America" go to Boy Scouts

San Francisco Examiner columnist Warren Hinckle has uncovered something of a crisis for patriotic gays and lesbians--royalties for the Irving Berlin tune "God Bless America," which has been sung at many memorial services and candlelight vigils since the September 11 attacks, go to the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of America. Berlin apparently wrote the song for a 1918 musical, but the song was cut, only to resurface later when Berlin was asked for a patriotic song to celebrate the 1938 Armistice Day. He charged nothing for the tune but specified that the two scouting organizations should be the beneficiaries. With the Boy Scouts of America currently under fire from many quarters for excluding gays from participating as scouts or scoutmasters, however, use of the song has been called into question by some. As San Francisco police commissioner and Bay Area Reporter columnist Wayne Friday told Hinckle: "Oh, dear God--this is going to get complicated."

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