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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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Gay Ban Gets Scouts Barred From Syracuse U.

by Newscenter Staff

Posted: May 18, 2005 12:01 am ET

(Syracuse, New York) Syracuse University has banned a Boy Scouts of America activity from campus because of the organization's prohibition of openly gay Scout leaders.

University trustees informed Alpha Phi Omega fraternity that it no longer would be able use campus buildings to conduct its annual Merit Badge Day, when fraternity members coach Boy Scouts in a variety of topics to earn merit badges.

The school says the Boy Scout's gay ban is a violation of the school's non-discrimination rule. The youth
organization believes they're being targeted.

"Syracuse University is the recipient of millions of tax dollars and those tax dollars are from all kinds of people, from all kinds of sexual orientations and religious beliefs. If you take taxpayers money you have an obligation to serve all the people," said Ray Sander, Onondaga Seaway Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Sander said the Scouts are now looking for another location to hold the event.

Four years ago, former Chancellor Kenneth Shaw told the Onondaga-Seaway Council of the Boy Scouts it could no longer use the Carrier Dome for its Boy Power Dinner after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Boy
Scouts' right to reject gay leaders.

In 2000 the court ruled that the Constitution gave the scouts, as a private organization, the right to choose its members. The Scouts also prohibits atheists.

Civil liberties groups have challenged the scouts' access to government facilities because of the ban and its requirement to swear an oath of duty to God.

The Pentagon last year settled one lawsuit by telling U.S. military bases around the world not to become
direct sponsors of Boy Scout troops or Cub Scout dens.

Dozens of cities and school boards have also barred the scouts from using public facilities.

But, a bill before Congress could prevent that from occurring in the future. Senate Majority leader Bill Frist introduced legislation in March that would make it illegal to bar the Boy Scouts from using public facilities.

Meanwhile an FBI investigation is continuing into allegations that the Boy Scouts of America is inflating its membership to gain funding.

The number of scouts has dwindled since it became embroiled in the dispute over gay scouts.

Membership in the BSA has declined since the Supreme Court ruling. But, in cities where agencies like the
United Way continue to fund the BSA it is alleged that troops are being encouraged to list fake names as
members to boost enrolment making the group eligible for more money.

© 2005




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