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8/10/01

National Organization cites out findings in BSA duping of United Way



In our very first email format Lehigh Valley Gay News reported on the local Minsi Trails Council, BSA's attempt to manipulate the Morning Call and other media and outright lie and dupe the United Way of the Lehigh Valley (not that the UW was trying hard to not be duped)

This week the National Organization "Scouting For All" from Petaluma California, started by a 12 year old scout named Steve Cozza used the information we provided (thanks to many helpful people throughout the Lehigh Valley) in their national press release. We are pleased and proud to have been part of that and hope you are too.

Special thanks to Liz Bradbury of the group PA-GALA for her letters to the Morning Call that actually brought our attention to this lie and thanks to Ed Verba, former District Executive of the MTC, BSA and also local activist with MCCLV, along with the unknowing 'help' of finding the easy contridictions from the MTC, UWGLV and BSA web sites. If they had only read each other web sites, they, either could have and would have hidden it better or at least know that they were NOT all on the same page on this lie.

For the record. The Boy Scouts of America discrimates against Gays. For the record. The Minsi Trails Council discrimiates against Gays. For the record. The United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley knows it and agrees with it. Therefore, the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley also discimates against Gays.

Disclaimer: UWGLV does have the half-hearted response that you can "negative" give, which means you can tell them NOT to give money to Minsi Trails Council and others that discrimate, BUT (and its a big BUT), WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE TO, IF
THE UNITED WAY WOULD JUST STOP DISCRIMATING THEMSELVES... let them 'negative' give !!!! Period.

Thanks
Jason Knight,
Lehigh Valley Gay News

Link and story: www.scoutingforall.org

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2001

Scouting for All Cautions the Public and Funders of the BSA NOT to Be Fooled by Current Rhetoric

Over the last few months several Scout Councils in the United States seemed to have attempted to mislead the public and funders into believing that they don't discriminate against gay scouts or leaders. Several councils have said they have adopted a "new" policy. The Minsi Trail Council of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and the Hiawatha Seaway Council of Syracuse, New York all reported in recent months to the news media that they have adopted a policy that focuses on "inappropriate behavior" and not sexual orientation. Most recently The Minuteman Council of Boston, Massachusetts has been quoted as saying they have adopted a new policy of "don't ask don't tell."

Scott Cozza, the President of Scouting for All made contacts with these Scout Councils and all reported they continue to follow the National Boy Scouts of America's current policy of excluding gays from scouting. One such interaction took place between Scott Cozza and Tom Herrington, Executive of the Minsi Trail Council. Cozza, asked Tom Herrington, "If a scout or scout leader were reported to the Minsi Trail Council for being gay by a parent or another scout leader how would the Council respond?" Mr. Herrington answered the question by stating, "The Council adheres to the National BSA policy of excluding homosexuals from scouting." Mr. Herrington further stated, " We don't have a policy (referring to their "new" behavior policy) different from the National organization. It was approved by the National office." Mr. Herrington also agreed with Mr. Cozza,
that his Council's "new" policy focusing on behavior was nothing new to scouting. National BSA has always had a policy to terminate members from scouting for "inappropriate behavior."

It seems very clear that the National BSA is giving consent to the some local Councils to reword current policy so that it can be interpreted in such a way as to meet funder anti-discrimination requirements. For example the Minsi Trail Council with its "new" policy was granted funding from the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley. Mr. Cozza, spoke to Mr. Scharff, Executive of the UW of the Greater Lehigh Valley. Mr. Scharff was surprised to hear the statements of Mr. Herrington, that the Council continues to adhere to the National BSA policy of discrimination against gays and atheists. After finding this out Mr. Scharff,
representing the UNGLV found it very difficult to take any action because in Mr. Scharff's words, "the religious right has threatened to pull funding from the Lehigh United Way if we discontinued funding the local council."

Scouting for All is cautioning the general public and funders of the Boy Scouts of America whose funding is dependent on anti-discrimination policies to not be "fooled" by the rhetoric of the National BSA and some Scout Councils, who claim to have a "new" policy. The truth is the only Scout Council in America who absolutely does not adhere to the BSA policy of discrimination is the Piedmont Council in Piedmont, California. The Piedmont Council told the National BSA in a letter that their current policy of excluding gays from scouting was in violation of both the Scout Oath and Law and they would not adhere to such a policy.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tom Herrington, Scout Executive, Minsi Trail Council, t: 610-264-8551

Jerry Scharff, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, t: 610-758-8010

Piedmont Council, Piedmont, California, t: 510-547-4493

Scott Cozza, Pres. Scouting for All, National Office, 707-778-0564,



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