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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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United Way of Palm Beach County, FL

Palm Beach Daily News, January 10, 2001

Scout issue going to committee


Palm Beach Community Chest/United Way is forming a special committee to make a recommendation on the issue of whether the organization should continue to fund the local Boy Scouts.

"I think our sense was, because of the importance of the issue and any decision, we should touch base with our constituents," said Jonathan Cole, a Vice Chairman and the treasurer for the organization, after a meeting of its trustees.

The committee will have eight members and will talk to donors, members of the board of trustees and agency representatives before making a recommendation at the next meeting, Tuesday, March 13.

Members of the committee are: Ann Appleman; Virginia Burke; Peggy Greenfield; Ruth Hennessy; Danielle Hickox; Sidney Kohl; Joe Jack Merriman; and Trip Moore. "We have time to make a reasonable decision," Cole said.

The Community Chest gave $62,000 to the Scouts in 2000, and funding for the group is in place through 2002.

The question of funding is the result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June allowing the Boy Scouts to ban gay scouts and leaders.

Chuck Edgar, spokesperson for the Gulf Stream Council of the Boy Scouts, which serves children from Boca Raton to Moorehaven, calls the move a good decision.

"My only hope is that ... we're given the opportunity to take part in this process," Edgar said. "I think that our leadership and this committee can sit down and have open dialog so they can come up with an informed decision."

About 40 of the 72 trustees were at Tuesday's meeting, and some commented on the issue, Cole said.

"It's safe to say that we'll lose support one way or another," he said.

The committee's recommendation will be subject to a vote of the full board of trustees.

The 19-member executive committee of Community Chest voted on the issue in December and was evenly split on the issue.

Once the committee looks more closely at the issue, Edgar is confident they will agree to continue funding, as the majority of United Way organizations have done, he said.

"They're going to see the great deal of good that we do outweighs something that has never been an issue in our council," he said. "Hopefully all of their supporters will be more comfortable once a decison is made because they are being so careful."

United Way of Palm Beach County decided in September that it will give the Scouts two years to permit gay scouts and leaders as members. If the Scouts do not change the policy by then, the organization will cut the $100,000 a year it gives to the group.




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