Metro Weekly

Corporations Opposing LGBT Discrimination Funding Boy Scouts

Some of the biggest corporations in America have donated millions of dollars to the Boy Scouts of America, including those with policies against giving to groups that discriminate against LGBT people.

BsaLogo.jpgAccording to an investigation by The American Independent, 23 of the top 50 charitable corporate foundations gave at least $10,000 each to the BSA in 2010 for a grand total of $3.6 million.

Among those corporations, the Verizon Foundation gave $300,000 and Bank of America and Wells Fargo each gave more than $100,000.

BSA’s biggest 2010 donation came from the Intel Foundation, which gave about $700,000. According to the report, both the Intel Foundation and the Verizon Foundation have policies that specifically state that they will not donate to organizations that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

Intel Foundation Executive Director Wendy Ramage-Hawkins told The American Independent that the foundation will ask the BSA for the first time for a statement of agreement with their nondiscrimination policy during the next grant cycle.

The revelation comes after the 102-year-old BSA reaffirmed their membership ban on “individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals.” The BSA continues to face fallout for the July decision, which was reached by a secret 11-member committee.

Today, Scouts for Equality founder Zach Wahls launched a petition urging Intel to pull their funding from the Scouts. 

“Until the Boy Scouts of America removes this hurtful policy that is inconsistent with its own principles, they do not deserve the financial backing of companies that strive for workplace equality — especially innovators like Intel,” Wahls wrote.

Both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have said the organization is wrong to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

Several petitions opposing the exclusionary policy have been circulated since the July announcement, most recently by Greg Bourke of Kentucky.

Bourke was forced to resign as assistant Scoutmaster for his son’s troop because he is gay, despite receiving multiple honors for his dedication to the Scouts, including recognition by the Kentucky House of Representatives. The father of two, who has been partnered for 30 years, has garnered more than 3,000 signatures from individuals who oppose the BSA’s discriminatory policy.

To make matters worse, the BSA was slapped with another public relations nightmare on Sunday after the Los Angeles Times published a shocking exposé alleging that for more than 20 years the group covered-up cases of child molestation.

According to the newspaper, a review of 1,600 confidential files dating from 1970 to 1991 show that “Scouting officials frequently urged admitted offenders to quietly resign — and helped many cover their tracks.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that many cases of abuse are contained in confidential “perversion files” that date back to 1919. BSA lawyers have fought to keep the files secret, which “blacklist” alleged molesters from rejoining the group. The files show in more than 100 cases in a two-decade period the BSA actively sought to cover up allegations of abuse from police, parents and the public.

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Justin Snow is Metro Weekly's former political editor and White House correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @JustinCSnow.

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