First Intel, now UPS under fire for funding Boy Scouts' anti-gay discrimination
- Rapidly growing campaign on Change.org urges UPS to pull its funding until the Boy Scouts of America ends its anti-gay policy;
- Eagle Scout Zach Wahls launched the campaign after successfully petitioning Intel Corporation, one of the Boy Scouts' largest corporate donors, to affirm that they would not support the Boy Scouts while the anti-gay policy is intact;
- UPS gave more than $150,000 to the Boy Scouts in 2010, and a company spokesperson says the Boy Scouts recently reaffirmed policy barring gay youth and leaders would not impact future funding decisions;
ATLANTA, GA – More than 15,000 people have joined a rapidly-growing campaign on Change.org urging United Parcel Service (UPS), Inc., to stop funding the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) until the organization removes its ban on gay youth and leaders.
Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality, launched the campaign on Change.org just days after Intel Corporation, one of the Boy Scouts’ largest corporate donors, affirmed the company is no longer supporting the BSA. Like Intel, UPS gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Boy Scouts in 2010, despite the organization’s anti-gay policy. Both UPS and Intel have perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, but a UPS spokesperson said the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policy wouldn’t deter UPS Foundation from funding the organization in the future.
“While the rest of the nation is moving forward, often with corporate America leading the way, the Boy Scouts of America has decided to turn back by reaffirming this hurtful policy,” said Scouts for Equality founder Zach Wahls, who launched the campaign on Change.org. “If UPS wants to uphold its reputation as a champion of equality and a proud leader in corporate diversity, then it must cut ties with the Boy Scouts until their anti-gay policy is removed.”
“The Boy Scouts are certainly worthy of significant corporate support, but not while the organization is upholding a discriminatory policy that bans some of the best and brightest gay youth and leaders from within our ranks,” added Wahls.
In addition to Scouts and Scout leaders, Wahls’ petition is also garnering support from UPS employees and their families. Kristi Balden of Enid, Oklahoma, whose husband has worked at UPS for 24 years, left a comment on the petition stating that her family doesn’t support UPS’ decision to fund the Boy Scouts and their anti-gay policy.
“My husband is a driver for UPS and our son is gay,” said Balden. “Our household does not support this!”
When asked by a reporter at The American Independent if the Boy Scouts’ decision to affirm their policy excluding “open or avowed homosexuals” will change the company’s funding decisions, a UPS spokesperson said the policy would not.
"This decision has not and will not impact The UPS Foundation’s decision to provide funding to BSA although we evaluate each funding request on an individual basis," said Petrella.
On his petition, Wahls points out that UPS Foundation President Eduardo Martinez currently serves as Chair of the Corporate Development Council for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. The Girl Scouts do not have a policy barring gay youth and leaders from participating in their programs.
Wahls, an Eagle Scout and son of two gay moms whose 2011 video in support of marriage equality became a viral sensation, launched Scouts for Equality after delivering nearly 300,000 petition signatures to the Boy Scouts of America on behalf of Jennifer Tyrrell, a lesbian mom and den leader from Ohio who was removed from her 7-year-old’s Cub Scout Pack for being gay. Together, Wahls and Tyrrell have led Change.org petition campaigns attracting more than 400,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and leaders.
In August, 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.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which initially broke the story of Jennifer Tyrrell’s removal from her son’s Cub Scout pack, joined Wahls and Scouts for Equality in urging corporations to pull funding from the Boy Scouts while their anti-gay policy remains intact.
"UPS has an opportunity to side with fairness and join other BSA Board Members, funders as well as hundreds of thousands of Americans in speaking out against this discriminatory policy," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "After losing so much support over the past several months, the BSA should follow other national youth organizations like the Girl Scouts of the USA, 4-H Club and Boys & Girls Club by ending discrimination against gay people."
Journalists interested in setting up an interview with Zach Wahls should use the contact details at the top of the page.
Live signature totals from Zach Wahls’ campaign:
American Independent report on Boy Scouts’ corporate donors:
Journalists interested in contacting UPS, Inc. public relations staff should try:
Kristen Petrella (Atlanta)
UPS Public Relations
(404) 828 4182
President, UPS Foundation
(404) 828 6000
For more information on Scouts for Equality, please visit:
Since 1991, the Boy Scouts of America has barred openly gay individuals from participating in its program at any level. Scouts for Equality will lead a respectful, honest dialogue with current and former Scouts and Scout Leaders about ending this outdated policy. By embodying the values of the Scout Oath and Law, we believe we can restore the social relevancy of one of this country’s great cultural institutions: the Boy Scouts of America.
For more information on Change.org, please visit:
Change.org is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by nearly two million new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.