BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — A plan by shipping company UPS to adopt anti-discrimination guidelines means it will no longer provide financial support to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) because of that organization's ban on gay Scouts and Scout leaders, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has announced.
"The UPS Foundation seeks to support organizations that are in alignment with our focus areas, guidelines, and non-discrimination policy," the company's website states. "UPS and The UPS Foundation do not discriminate against any person or organization with regard to categories protected by applicable law, as well as other categories protected by UPS and The UPS Foundation in our own policies. These include, but are not limited to race, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran or military status, pregnancy, age and religion."
GLAAD says UPS confirms that under these guidelines, organizations that cannot prove that their policies or practices complement the foundation's non-discrimination policy will no longer be considered eligible for funding. The queer advocacy organization notes that UPS gave $167,000 to the BSA in 2010 with no indication there would be a change in grant provision at that time.
In September, Intel Foundation said it would no longer fund organizations like the BSA that had anti-gay policies in place.
In July, at the same time that the BSA reaffirmed its policy of excluding
gays, despite ongoing criticism and protests, 19-year-old Eagle Scout and summer camp counsellor Eric Jones was shown the door after revealing he is gay to his camp director. The camp director told Jones, who had been a member for almost 10 years, that while he deserved to be there, BSA policy was BSA policy: no openly gay people allowed.
That same month, Martin Cizmar returned his Eagle Scout badge in protest against the BSA's reaffirmation of that policy.
"A national policy on sexuality forces good, principled people from
scouting. I can only hope that someone inside the BSA has the courage to
fix this policy before the organization withers into irrelevance," Cizmar wrote in a July 19 letter to the BSA.
GLAAD first called on the BSA to end its anti-gay policy in April after Jennifer Tyrrell, a mother and den leader from Ohio, was removed from her seven-year-old’s Cub Scout Pack because she's gay. Tyrell subsequently started a change.org petition that has garnered more than 330,000 signatures in support of ending the BSA's ban on gays.
The CEOs of AT&T and Ernst & Young have also called for an end to the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policies. AT&T’s Randall Stephenson and Ernst & Young’s James Turley both sit on the national board of the Boy Scouts of America.