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Carrier Corp. of Syracuse, NY Is Ending Its Support Of The BSA

Associated Press, April 3, 2002,2933,49390,00.html
Carrier Ends Scouts Support Over Gays

 SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Carrier Corp. is ending its support of a major regional Boy Scouts dinner because of the national organization's ban on gay leaders.

 But, the Scout's top local executive says community support is actually increasing.

 Carrier declined to buy or sell tickets this year for the annual Boypower Dinner of the Hiawatha Seaway Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which represents Scouts in five upstate counties. Last year, the company was responsible for combined donations and corporate dinner ticket sales of $42,025.

 This year's dinner is set for Wednesday in the OnCenter in Syracuse with former CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite as the featured guest and is expected to attract more than 2,000 people.

 "Judging by the results, we have great community support. We have raised more money this year than ever before, so we've already made up the difference (of losing Carrier as a sponsor)," said Ray Sander, the Hiawatha Council's district executive.
 Sander said Tuesday the dinner, which is a major fund-raiser, has already surpassed last year's gross earnings of $562,000, and he expected receipts to approach $575,000 this year. One company, Crucible Specialty Metals, has itself accounted for $100,475 in ticket purchases, sales and sponsorship money, he said.

 "Carrier's decision is disappointing. This is a complicated issue ... and it's being laid on the foot of the local Scouts," Sander said. He added that the air conditioning and refrigeration manufacturer was the only corporate sponsor to withdraw support this year because of the Scouts' leadership policy.

 Until last year, the event was held in the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University every year but one since it started in 1984. However, last year, the university told the Scouts that it could no longer use the stadium because the organization's ban on gay leaders was in conflict with the school's policy on diversity.

 Although Carrier is based in Farmington, Conn. and owned by Hartford, Conn.-based United Technologies Corp., the decision was made locally by Carrier Corp. officials, said Chip Eschenfelder, a company spokesman.

 "We have limited community support dollars, and it was decided we would use them to support organizations that operate under the same diversity guidelines as we do," he said.

 Eschenfelder noted that Carrier believes scouting has great value and does nothing to discourage its employees from supporting the organization.

 "It's just as a corporation, we cannot support the national organization's policy," he said.

 In June 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 that the Boy Scouts, a private organization, had the First Amendment right to set its own policy. The court did not rule on the policy itself.

 Last month, HSBC Bank evicted the Scouts' Cayuga County chapter from its building in Auburn because the organization's leadership policy violated the bank's anti-discrimination policy. In response, county lawmakers pulled up to $3.8 million in county funds from the bank.

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