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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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Wells Fargo, PGE will restrict funding to Boy Scouts

The Oregonian, December 11, 2000 Portland, OR

From The Associated Press

Wells Fargo Bank and Portland General Electric are asking the United Way not to pass on more than $600,000 in donations to the Boy Scouts because the organization bans gays from serving as Scout leaders.

"The Boy Scouts are as American as apple pie, but this was an easy decision to make," said Tom Unger, a Wells Fargo spokesman. "We really have to, as a company, return to what our core vision and values are, and that's to not discriminate," Unger said.

But the bank still supports a separate scouting program called Learning for Life because it has an independent policy, he said. Unger also said that Wells Fargo employees are being encouraged to support the Boy Scouts as volunteers.

Larry Otto, executive director of the Cascade Pacific Council of the Boy Scouts, defended the national policy barring homosexuals and said the Scouts rely more on families for funding than corporate donors.

"Our values aren't for sale," Otto said. "We aren't going to be trumped by anyone's dollars." Wells Fargo pledged $400,000 to the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette while PGE pledged $217,000 to the agency during this year's annual drive.

The local Boy Scouts council, however, has an annual budget of about $6.1 million with just $252,000 -- or about 4 percent -- coming from United Way last year.

Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly voted to uphold the national Boy Scout policy that prohibits "avowed homosexuals" from being Scout leaders.

Critics said the court was sanctioning discrimination but supporters praised the ruling, saying the Scouts should be allowed to set their own rules.

In the Portland area, the board of the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette voted in October to continue its financial support for the Boy Scouts.

The decision came in the middle of the United Way's annual corporate drive, and agency officials have been wary about the effects.

The United Way's total goal for this year's drive is about $22 million. With half the money tallied, donors have designated about $48,000 to the Scouts, an increase over last year at the midway point. Overall, the Scouts received $73,000 last year.

United Way spokeswoman Stacey Graham said, however, that more individuals have steered money away from Scouts. The council serves about 53,000 children in Oregon and southwest Washington.




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