The Boy Scouts of America teach young men how to build fires, pitch tents, weave camping chairs, and "be prepared"—unless your son happens to be gay. But the Boy Scouts long-standing policy of banning "open or avowed homosexuals" is starting to cost it some major financial backers: In the last six months, companies including UPS, United Way, the Merck Company Foundation and the Intel Foundation have announced they will drop or postpone funding for the Boy Scouts. Verizon Communications could be next: Over 70,000 people have signed a petition asking the corporation to stop funding the Scouts over their discriminatory policies. "We more than understand how much value the Scouting program offers to our Nation and its youth," Brad Hankins, a campaign director for Scouts for Equality, the organization behind the Verizon petition and others, tells Mother Jones. "However, we feel that over the long term the damage the ban has caused to Scouting's perception in our changing cultural climate is much greater than a temporary loss of funds."
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