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Local United Way: Boy Scouts not eligible for funding

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The United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area in New York has decided to stop funding programs that are led by the Boy Scouts. The organization recently updated its diversity and anti-discrimination policy, so that it now includes sexual orientation.

A few weeks ago the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow openly gay youth into the organization, but this protection does not extend to gay parents and leaders, who are still banned.

Therefore, the new policy disqualifies the Boy Scouts from applying for funding.

"Allowing opening gay youth into the Boy Scouts is a great step in the right direction," said Brenda Episcopo, United Way Executive Director. "But it's still not fully inclusive, therefore they are not eligible for funding."

In the last two years, the local scouts received $60,000 for their Scout Reach efforts, from the United Way group which includes a program called Learning for Life program operates out of local schools, but still falls under the Boy Scouts' domain.

"United Way stewards donor dollars into effective programs that are inclusive for everybody," said Episcopo. "It's really as simple as that."

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 Change.org petition has attracted more than 345,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and adult leaders.

More than 1.8 million people have joined Change.org petition campaigns since Tyrrell launched her first petition. Since that day, advocacy efforts and successful petition campaigns have recruited two Boy Scout board members -- AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Ernst & Young CEO James Turley -- to denounce the national anti-gay policy. GLAAD, together with Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality Zach Wahls, have also used Change.org petitions to pressure corporate donors such as the Intel Foundation and the UPS Foundation to pull funding until the Boy Scouts end their policy banning gay youth and parents. Last fall, a Bay Area mother named Karen Andresen petitioned her local Boy Scout council to honor her son Ryan with an Eagle Award that was denied to him when the Scout came out as gay. An official Eagle Board Board of Review unanimously approved Ryan's application for Eagle, but a Boy Scout executive ultimately rejected his application.

For a full timeline of events, please visit http://glaad.org/timeline

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