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HSBC Bank Ends Lease For Boy Scout Troop

From Buffalo News, 3/13/2002:

 HSBC Bank ends lease for Boy Scout troop By DAVID ROBINSON
News Business Reporter

HSBC is giving the Boy Scouts the boot from an office the group leased at one of the bank's buildings in Auburn, just west of
Syracuse, because of the Scouts' policy banning homosexuals as leaders.

The bank decided to end the Boy Scouts' month-to-month lease for the 1,200 square-foot office at the end of June because the group's ban on gay leaders goes against HSBC's commitment to diversity.

"HSBC is an organization committed to diversity in all of its forms," the bank said in a statement Tuesday. "We determined that the Boy Scouts' philosophy was in conflict with this commitment."

As a result, the bank decided on Oct. 31 not to renew the Boy Scouts' Cayuga County Council's lease on the space it had occupied since 1993 and gave the group until the end of June to move. The bank has no lease arrangements with the Boy Scouts in Western New York, an HSBC spokeswoman said.

In June 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, upheld the organization's national policy ban on "avowed" homosexuals after the group maintained it was a private association entitled to restrict its membership.

The bank said the decision to terminate the lease has no bearing on HSBC's banking business. "As a landlord, we choose our tenants," the bank said. "As a bank, it's our customers who make the choice whether or not to do business with us."

The Boy Scouts' policy on homosexual leaders was the subject of a protest in Cayuga County last September. Activists protesting policies that they believe either directly or tacitly supported discrimination against homosexuals, visited the Scouts' office and the Salvation Army, as well as the United Way, which provides funding to both groups.

HSBC said it was not aware of the protest until a story on the Boy Scout's lease appeared in the Post-Standard in Syracuse.

Last year, Syracuse University officials decided not to let the Syracuse area Boy Scout council hold an annual dinner at the Carrier Dome because of the group's stance on gay leaders. Jamestown Community College also barred the Boy Scouts of America from using college facilities last year because of the ban on homosexual leaders.

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