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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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Arizona Schools and Cities Remain Free to Sanction Groups that Discriminate

Ariz. Boy Scout "Protection" Fails
Mark Kerr, Tucson Weekly Observer
Tuesday, March 13, 2001 / 09:15 PM

Summarized Article

Arizona schools and cities remain free to sanction groups that discriminate against gays, after a bill designed to "protect" the Boy Scouts was defeated. Arizona's House of Representatives voted March 8 to reject a bill that would have prohibited government entities in the state from punishing organizations that discriminate by cutting off public funding or restricting access to facilities. The Scout Protection Act targeted the city of Tucson, which passed a measure last year that cut off city funding to all non-profit organizations that failed to uphold the city's 24-year-old ordinance banning discrimination based on race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, and religion. The bill, introduced by Rep. Mark Anderson, also went after the Tucson Sunnyside School District, which recently approved a measure ending the Boy Scouts of America's free use of Sunnyside facilities because of the organization's ban on participation by gays. Anderson's act would have prohibited cities, school districts and other political entities from acting to "discriminate against, investigate or deny or withdraw access to public
property" to the Boy Scouts. It would also have prohibited the use of public funds to "compel" the Scouts to accept gays, atheists, and agnostics, or anyone else inconsistent with the group's "policies, programs, morals or mission." The bill appeared to be on the legislative fast track after it was approved on February 6 by the House Human Services Committee, which Anderson
chairs. But many newspaper editorials condemned the bill, and Anderson admitted that its passage could allow organizations like the Nazi's and the Ku Klux Klan to receive public funds. After 10 Republicans joined many House Democrats in expressing their opposition, the bill's chances seemed dimmer. Several legislators addressed the Boy Scout issue head on, arguing that a
private organization that discriminates should not benefit from public funds or facilities. During the debate, legislators received an E-mail from notoriously homophobic former Rep. Barbara Blewster, urging them to vote for the bill because of the political and economic power held by homosexuals. After the sometimes heated debate, the House voted 32-22 to reject the bill.

"The members recognized that this bill was bad public policy," openly gay Rep. Steve May said after the floor vote. "We were edified by the fact legislators saw the basic unfairness of a private organization getting special rights for public accommodations," said Ron Passarelli of the Arizona Human Rights Fund, the statewide GLBT rights group.

P. Sean Herlihy




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