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Write to the United Way of Central Ohio: Stop Funding the Boy Scouts of America

August 20, 2003


3484 Independence Street
Grove City, OH 43123

Scouting for All
P.O. Box 2832
Petaluma, CA 94953-2832

To the Board of Trustees

Thank you for your timely response to my most recent letter. I am writing once again, however, to urge you to not become complacent towards the open discrimination practiced by the Boy Scouts of America - Simon Kenton Council.

In your last letter you wrote that the hiring practices of the Boy Scouts do not violate equal opportunity employment laws, and that the Council has a non-discrimination policy for its staff. While this may be true, it is not enough. These policies do not extend to the vast majority of involvement in the Boy Scouts of America - volunteer membership by boys and leaders in the local Boy Scout troops.

Illustrating the open policy of discrimination the Boy Scouts have enacted is the following quote from a resolution enacted by the national BSA on February 6,2003:

7. WHEREAS the national officers further agree that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the traditional values espoused in the Scout Oath and Law and that an avowed homosexual cannot serve as a role model for the values of the Oath and Law

I suggest substituting the names of other minority groups such as "African-American, " "Jew," or "Muslim" in place of "homosexual" in the above quote and considering whether the United Way of Central Ohio would continue to fund such an organization. The Boy Scouts have a right to discriminate as such, but the community also has a right to speak out against this discrimination.

Perhaps a sensible approach to the Boy Scouts of American - Simon Kenton Council's role in this policy would be to require the Council to adopt a Statement of nondiscrimination for membership on the basis of race, religion, or sexual orientation before funding for the next year is considered.

As Stated in your last letter, the Council runs many beneficial programs for inner-city and at-risk youth, and it would be a shame to lose these programs. But it would be a greater shame to complacently allow this discrimination to continue with the funding of the United Way of Central Ohio. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

(signed)

Bret Underwood

Cc: Scouting for All


Letter From United Way of Central Ohio

August 11, 2003


Dear Mr. Underwood,

On behalf of the United Way of Central Ohio Board of Trustees, we are responding to your recent letter expressing concerns about our funding of the Boy Scouts of America - Simon Kenton Council.

We certainly share your concerns about valuing diversity and have put in place a strong anti-discrimination policy in our workplace here at United Way as well as offering benefits to those who work here, their immediate family members and domestic partners.

United Way volunteer and staff leaders have met and will continue to hold conversations with leaders from the local Boy Scouts and from the gay and lesbian community to foster greater understanding and positions that meet both individual and community interests.

We currently invest about $500,000 in four programs of the Boy Scouts of America - Simon Kenton Council, which primarily serve at-risk, inner-city and economically disadvantaged youth. The local Boy Scout Council is in compliance with local, state and national laws in regard to equal opportunity employment and has a non-discrimination policy for its staff.

We appreciate your concern and assure you that the United Way of Central Ohio's Board of Trustees is committed to diversity and believes that our organization is stronger through the inclusion of the entire community without regard to our differences, including sexual orientation.

Sincerely,

(signed)

Tanny Crane
Chair
Board of Trustees


(signed)

Jane t E. Jackson
President and CEO



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