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Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor

From Fox News:

Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.

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The United Way of Greater Milwaukee will examine whether the agency should continue to support the local Boy Scouts of America

Associated Press, December 30, 2000

United Way task force to examine continued Boy Scouts funding
Statewire MILWAUKEE (AP) --

The United Way of Greater Milwaukee will examine whether the agency should continue to support the local Boy Scouts in light of the organization' s decision to ban gay troop leaders and members.

The local United Way is the largest single donor to the Milwaukee County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, providing 24 percent -- or about $668, 000 -- of its $2.8 million budget.

The agency will create a task force that will get opinions from the community about the agency's support of 20, 000 local children involved in scouting. Local Scout leaders said thousands of inner-city children would suffer if the United Way withdrew its support.

The agency's decision follows a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision in June allowing the Scouts to exclude gays. Many United Way branches nationwide have pulled their support since the ruling.

The Milwaukee agency has heard comments on both sides of the issue and felt it was worth examining, United Way spokeswoman Candace Walton said.

United Way funding supports "Learning for Life," a program serving more than 10,000 mostly inner-city youth, said Michael Childers, executive director of the Milwaukee County Council.

He said that program doesn't ban gays or girls. He said traditional programs like Cub Scouts are supported mainly through individual donations. He said the Milwaukee branch supports the national philosophy of exempting gays.

"The Milwaukee County Council is part of the national organization of the Boy Scouts, and our policy is the same as theirs. We do not feel that avowed homosexuals are good role models for children," Childers said.

Since the ruling, Walton said the local United Way has received about 100 comments, mostly supportive of the Scouts. But gay-rights activists, including Neil Albrecht, executive director of the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, say groups should not support the Scouts' policy.

At least 24 United Way chapters of 1,400 nationwide have either cut funding to the Scouts or directed money toward Scouting programs that don't bar homosexuals.

The United Way of Dunn County stopped its $5, 000 donation to the Chippewa Valley Boy Scout Council this summer, Scout officials said. Another donor stepped forward.

Madison's school board condemned the Scouts' policy earlier this month, though it has not stopped the group from using its facilities.

"A lot of people have elected to support the Boy Scouts," said Dennis Horn, executive director of the Chippewa Valley council.

John Zapfel, 19, an Eagle Scout from Milwaukee, said the Supreme Court's ruling should have ended the debate. "It would be a difficult situation to see the funding pulled away," Zapfel said.

"If I wasn't involved in scouting, I don't know where I would be right now."

On the Net: Boy Scouts of America:
Milwaukee County Council of the Boy Scouts of America:
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