A Sample Letter for BSA Members, Scout Units and Scouting Parents to Use in requesting that
Their Local United Way to Stop Funding the BSA Until it Rescinds its Policy of Discrimination
An Open Letter to the Board of Directors of the United Way/Community Chest of your town (Oak Park, IL)
Attn: Executive Director
As parents of former Cub (or Boy) Scouts, (and/or as active members of town), we urge you to reject any funding
requests for the Boy Scouts of America, including the (name of local council).
Our concerns are as follows:
- The Boy Scouts of America is a discriminatory organization. It is not “open to all.” In fact, it is not only
closed to gay leadership, it is closed to anyone who believes in inclusion.
- The Boy Scouts of America has rejected the sponsorship of every public school in Oak Park, Illinois, for example,
excluding 400 boys from participation in Scouting due to their parents’ beliefs in equal rights.
- No one is allowed to participate in Scouting unless he or she is willing go along with the hateful belief that
homosexuals are not moral people.
How can we be expected to fund a group that finds anyone who believes in inclusion unacceptable?
Participation and funding of The Boy Scouts of America has a harmful effect on youth. This issue is about even
more than exclusion. It is about its effect: the shame that young men are made to feel when they learn that this
major community organization calls them inferior human beings.
We need to take responsibility for our part in community indifference to the rejection our young people may
feel. We cannot on our conscience ignore their humanity in the interest of serving the majority.
The BSA does not teach leadership. It teaches that if people speak their mind, they will not be tolerated. It
teaches that it is ethical to exclude entire groups of people because they are different. It teaches us that our
local non-discrimination policies are not important.
The BSA excludes boys and their families (as well as gay leaders). Do you think that gay parents, their children,
or teenage boys who are struggling with this issue themselves can possibly join a group that fought a ten-year
court battle in order to state to the world that they are not moral people?
Is there a public accounting for funds that the (name of local council) receives? Families pay their own dues
a nd buy their own uniforms. Leaders provide the materials for den meetings. At the Blue and Gold Dinner each year,
many of us donate up to $100 to pay for low-income children to join Scouting.
Does the BSA owe legal fees relating to their Supreme Court case? (described below) Do they need to replace
other areas of funding which were drained for this effort? In August 1999, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled
unanimously against the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay membership policy. All seven justices agreed that this
policy was based on stereotype and prejudice. They stated a clear responsibility “to eradicate the cancer of unlawful
In June 2000, however, in a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned this State Court’s unanimous ruling.
The BSA stated in their brief that the presence of homosexuals would make it impossible for them to operate. They
did not clearly explain why. (In Oak Park, Illinois, it is actually the BSA’s insistence on subscription to discrimination
which has made it impossible for them to operate through their public institutions.) The four dissenting U.S.
justices clearly assert that the right to associate is not the right to discriminate at will. We agree with these
justices that this exclusion of homosexuals is due to prejudice, plain and simple.
The decision about the ethics of exclusion on the part of The Boy Scouts of America rests on you. Exclusion
may have been ruled legal, but no Court said it was good. No one ruled on the fact that real diversity creates
the strongest possible community. No one can be forced to go along with a discriminatory policy if one chooses
The responsibility for acting in an ethical way rests squarely with each funder, sponsor, and individual family
related to Scouting.
The BSA has recently attempted to connect its actions to church doctrine concerning premarital sex. We believe
that a young person struggles with his identity as he reaches a certain age; he does not have to engage in premarital
activity to know. Sexual orientation is not a choice.
This issue is not about premarital sex.
We are not part of any agenda.
We are citizens who feel that discrimination is wrong.
We urge you to fund groups like Camp Fire USA, an inclusive organization with fine programming for both boys
and girls. The boys in our community deserve better than the BSA. If people want to donate directly to the Scouts,
they are free to do so. Perhaps, however, donors to the United Way/Community Chest will be best served if funded
organizations benefit the health and welfare of our entire community, and without hurting anyone in the process.
Thank you for your consideration.