In a puzzling move, online retail giant Amazon is standing firm in its charitable support of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The Boy Scouts, which unapologetically discriminates against gay and lesbian adults, is among the organizations included in the AmazonSmile program, which allows shoppers to direct 0.5 percent of their purchase totals toward a charity of their choice.
This, despite the fact that the AmazonSmile participation agreement clearly stipulates that eligible organizations are those that "do not engage in, support, encourage, or promote [...] intolerance, discrimination or discriminatory practices based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation [emphasis added], or age."
More than 120,000 people have already spoken out against Amazon's continued support of the Boy Scouts through a Change.org petition launched by 17 year-old gay Eagle Scout, Pascal Tessier. Tessier, who started the petition with Scouts for Equality in support of ousted gay Scoutmaster Geoff McGrath, rightfully points out that "discrimination is nothing to smile about."
GLAAD will be on the ground in Seattle on Wednesday alongside Scouts for Equality, Pascal, Geoff, and other local Scouts and equality supporters to deliver the petitions to Amazon headquarters. The delivery will coincide with the Boy Scouts National Meeting, which will kick off in Nashville, Tennessee on May 21.
Following a phone call with GLAAD, Amazon reiterated that it will not remove the Boy Scouts from the AmazonSmile program. Nor, apparently, will it be removing other blatantly anti-LGBT organizations, including the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) or even the defunct Exodus International.
Amazon says it will only remove organizations that appear on the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) list of hate groups. However, even the SPLC has said that the Boy Scouts have no place in the AmazonSmile program:
“There’s not a lot of question that the Boy Scouts’ position on gay leadership definitely qualifies as intolerant by anybody’s standards – especially ours,” said SPLC co-founder and general counsel Joe Levin to msnbc. “If [Amazon is] relying at all upon the principles of the Southern Poverty Law Center, they couldn’t include the Boy Scouts on their list of potential recipients.”
To its credit, Amazon did remove the Pacific Justice Institute from the AmazonSmile program after GLAAD pointed out that the anti-gay group was included in AmazonSmile's list of "charities," despite it also appearing on the SPLC's list of hate groups.
To date, Amazon has not returned GLAAD's request for an in-person meeting while in Seattle.