The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, citing its nondiscrimination policy, said Thursday it will no longer fund an urban school program of the Philadelphia-area Boy Scouts chapter in the city and three suburban counties. The United Way group had stopped funding the chapter itself after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the Boy Scouts of America could exclude gay people.
On Thursday the United Way said it would also pull funding for the Learning for Life program, which it had continued to support because the program was not subject to the ban on gay people. The local group's president, Christine James-Brown, said the board of directors decided there wasn't enough separation between the two groups.
The group gave about $400,000 to the Cradle of Liberty Council to operate Learning for Life in Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Delaware counties and also funded it in Chester County. Cradle of Liberty scout executive William T. Dwyer III said he was "incredibly disappointed" by the withdrawal of funds.
"In the face of the fact that our board came out with a statement that it was nondiscriminatory, and still to have this happen to us, is absolutely unbelievable," Dwyer said.
In May the Cradle of Liberty Council defied the national Boy Scout organization by including protections for sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy. But under pressure from the national organization, the chapter rescinded that policy amendment in June.
Dwyer said the local organization has no choice but to follow national policies. "The [local Boy Scouts] board, which I answer to, is unanimous in its thinking that it should be inclusive and tolerant to people of different sexual orientation, and that's their statement," Dwyer said.