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Intel will not fund Boy Scouts of America until ban on gay scouts and scout leaders ends

Less than 48 hours ago, Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality, launched a campaign on Change.org supported by GLAAD and signed by more than 30,000 Americans urging Intel to pull funding from the Boy Scouts of America after an American Independent report revealed that the company gave nearly $700,000 to the Boy Scouts in 2010. According to the American Independent, the Intel Foundation has a policy that it will not fund “organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, veteran or disability status.”

Today Intel announced that it has stopped funding BSA troops that follow the discriminatory national policy.

In a statement released to Think Progress today, Intel’s Chief Diversity Officer, Rosalind Hudnell, said that the company could no longer fund the Boy Scouts of America, so long as the Scouts stand by their long-held policy barring gay troops and leaders from participating in the organization. She said:

“Intel has not provided funding to the National Boy Scouts of America organization.  The $700,000 in funding from the Intel Foundation was donated to local Boy Scout troops or councils where our employees volunteer their time, through our volunteer matching grants program . . . Due to significant growth in the number of organizations funded, earlier this year we revisited our policies associated with the program, and applied new rigor that requires any organization to confirm that it adheres to Intel’s anti-discrimination policy in order to receive funding."

According to Think Progress, under the policy, the growing number of Boy Scout troops and councils that reject the BSA’s policy would still be eligible for Intel’s funding.

 GLAAD President Herndon Graddick replied:

"Intel joins current Boy Scouts of America Board Members, President Obama, Mitt Romney and hundreds of thousands of Americans in speaking out against the BSA's practice of unfairly kicking out gay scouts and scout leaders simply because of who they are. All of the great work that the BSA does to help young people will continue to be overshadowed by their blatant discrimination until they join other inclusive national organizations like the Girl Scouts of the USA and the 4-H Club. The time is now for the BSA to side with fairness, otherwise they will continue to see sponsors and scouting families drop their support."

“Intel made the right decision here, in order to live up to their corporate values of diversity, equality and individual liberty,” said Zach Wahls. “Companies that support the LGBT community simply can’t be in the business of funding organizations that discriminate. Frankly, by sending this message, Intel is upholding the true spirit of Scouting better than the BSA is today.”

Intel’s decision to pull funding from the Boy Scouts comes after the CEOs of two major companies -- AT&T and Ernst & Young -- called for an end to the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policies. AT&T’s CEO, Randall Stephenson, and Ernst & Young’s CEO, James Turley, both sit on the national board of the Boy Scouts of America. Last month, President Obama, who serves as honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America, publicly opposed the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy, and joined presidential candidate Mitt Romney in supporting gay Americans participating in the Boy Scouts.

GLAAD first started calls for the Boy Scouts of America to end their ban on gay scouts and scout leaders after Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom and den leader from Ohio was removed from her 7-year-old’s Cub Scout Pack for being gay in April 2012. Tyrrell’s Change.org petition has attracted more than 330,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and leaders. This week GLAAD also called attention to the Americans who are continuing to be harmed by the anti-gay policy, including Kentucky dad Greg Bourke who was ousted from his son’s troop this summer and launched a Change.org campaign to be reinstated.

Tyrrell and Wahls will next be serving as ambassadors for Spirit Day, a campaign lead by GLAAD that inspires millions of Americans to wear purple on October 19 to stand up against bullying and show support for LGBT young people. Other ambassadors include Shaquille O’Neal, George Takei, Perez Hilton and Wendy Williams.

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