Intel, one of the largest corporate donors to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), says it will cease all future funding to the group until gay scouts and leaders are welcome within the organization. Last week, Eagle Scout and LGBT activist Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality, launched a campaign on Change.org signed by more than 30,000 Americans urging Intel to pull funding from the Boy Scouts after an American Independent report revealed that the company gave nearly $700,000 to the Boy Scouts two years ago. Intel, it should be noted, received a perfect score on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, and has an explicit policy of not donating to groups that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
“Intel made the right decision here, in order to live up to their corporate values of diversity, equality and individual liberty,” says Wahls. “Companies that support the LGBT community simply can’t be in the business of funding organizations that discriminate. Frankly, by sending this message, Intel is upholding the true spirit of Scouting better than the BSA is today.”
In a statement released to Think Progress late last week, Intel’s Chief Diversity Officer Rosalind Hudnell said that the company could no longer fund the Boy Scouts of America so long as the scouts ban gay troops and leaders.
“Due to significant growth in the number of organizations funded, earlier this year we revisited our policies associated with the program, and applied new rigor that requires any organization to confirm that it adheres to Intel’s anti-discrimination policy in order to receive funding,” Hudnell explains.
Still other companies have made sizable donations to the Boy Scouts of America, including Verizon, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and Bank of America, which have each donated upwards of $100,000 to the organization recently.
This summer, the CEOs of AT&T and Ernst & Young called for an end to the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policies. AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson and James Turley of Ernst & Young, both sit on the national board of the Boy Scouts of America.
“Companies and CEOs are joining with thousands of Eagle Scouts, and hundreds of thousands of other Americans calling for an end to discrimination in the Boy Scouts of America,” says Wahls. “Until the BSA removes this hurtful policy that is inconsistent with its own principles, companies that strive for workplace freedom must reconsider their financial backing.”
GLAAD also broke the story of lesbian mom Jennifer Tyrrell’s firing from her own son’s Cub Scout pack in Ohio several months ago, and is standing behind Intel.
“Intel joins current Boy Scouts of America Board Members, President Obama, Mitt Romney and hundreds of thousands of Americans in speaking out against the BSA’s practice of unfairly kicking out gay scouts and scout leaders simply because of who they are,” says GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “All of the great work that the BSA does to help young people will continue to be overshadowed by their blatant discrimination until they join other inclusive national organizations like the Girl Scouts of the USA and the 4-H Club. The time is now for the BSA to side with fairness, otherwise they will continue to see sponsors and scouting families drop their support.”