Discover Financial Services -- operator of the third-largest credit card brand in the United States, Discover Card – issued a statement after GLAAD spoke with the company regarding the Boy Scouts of America Discover Prepaid Card. According to the BSA, "Local councils are expected to earn as much as $10 million through this program over the next five years."
Discover stated: "Discriminatory practices are inconsistent with the way we operate as a company and contrary to Discover’s values. Our company embraces diversity and practices inclusive behaviors because we feel it is the right thing to do for our employees and our business. We believe in equality and oppose discrimination on any basis."
Discover, which received a score of 45/100 on HRC's 2013 Corporate Equality Index, stopped short of directly opposing the BSA's ban on gay youth and adults.
GLAAD has been contacting companies that are affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America since our campaign to end the BSA's ban began more than a year ago. GLAAD will be on the ground in Dallas next week to continue to advocate for a nationwide non-discrimination policy that includes gay youth and adults as BSA members vote to end the ban on gay youth.
Late last year, two cards exclusive to Scouts and Scouting families were released, the "Scout Discover Prepaid Card" and the "Boy Scouts of America Discover Card." The prepaid card is issued by First California Bank pursuant to a license from Discover Network. Discover and the Discover acceptance mark are service marks used by First California Bank under license from Discover Financial Services.
GLAAD continues to contact other supporters of the Boy Scouts of America to ask them to speak out in favor of the national non-discrimination policy that would allow gay Scouts and leaders to participate. Earlier this week it was announced that the God Bless America Fund would be withholding funds from the BSA because of the anti-gay ban.
"The BSA will continue to see partners and potential members walk away until their national policy is one that allows gay young people and adults," said Rich Ferraro, GLAAD's Vice President of Communications. "Discover is the latest in a long line of companies, elected officials and current Scouts to speak out against discrimination. If the BSA votes to uphold their ban next week, they will fail their own supporters and Scouts."
The cards are marketed as a way customers can "Show your Boy Scouts of America Support and Pride.” This, despite Discover's own non-discrimination policy, which emphasizes protections based on sexual orientation:
The Company is committed to a work environment in which all individuals are treated with dignity and respect. It is the policy of the Company to ensure equal employment opportunity without discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, disability, marital status, pregnancy (including unlawful discrimination on the basis of a legally protected pregnancy/maternity leave), veteran status, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by law.
Companies with similar non-discrimination policies, including the Intel Foundation, the UPS Foundation, the Merck Foundation, and others have delayed their support of the BSA because of the organization's discriminatory policy banning gay Scouts and adult leaders. Similarly, the CEOs of two major companies -- AT&T and Ernst & Young -- have publicly spoken out against the BSA's anti-gay policy.
Next week, 1400 members of the Boy Scouts of America National Council will converge in Dallas to vote on whether or not the organization should allow gay youth to participate. This would still prevent gay parents from volunteering and participating in their children's lives.
A recent ABC News-Washington Post poll found that 63 percent of Americans support the Boy Scouts plan to begin admitting gay Scouts younger than 18, and 56 percent oppose its intention to continue banning gay adults from the organization.
GLAAD first started calls for the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on gay Scouts and scout leaders in April 2012 after Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom and den leader from Ohio was removed from her 7-year-old’s Cub Scout Pack for being gay. Tyrrell’s original Change.org petition has attracted more than 343,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and leaders. Tyrrell, together with GLAAD, has launched a new petition to urge the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to completely lift its anti-gay ban on both youth members and adult employees and volunteers. To take action on this issue please visit www.glaad.org/denmother. For more on GLAAD's work on this campaign, including a timeline of key events, visit www.glaad.org/scouts.