Skip to comments.Partnership ends over Scouts exclusion of gays
Posted on 11/13/2003 7:41:48 AM PST by WinOne4TheGipper
After a 76-year partnership, the United Way Capital Area and the Boy Scouts are parting ways because the Scouts organization excludes gays.
"Our value is that we raise money from the entire community," said Clarke Heidrick, chairman of the United Way board. "We need to allocate the money to agencies that serve the entire community."
Boy Scouts of America, Capital Area Council, will lose approximately $157,000 a year, a little more than 5 percent of its $2.9 million budget. The group will ask its supporters to make up that loss with additional contributions, said Bruce Walcutt, the organization's president.
"Frankly, the Boy Scouts are a resourceful bunch," he said. "That's what we're taught to be. We'll continue to keep our programs alive."
Under the terms of an agreement unanimously approved Wednesday by the United Way board, the Scouts will remain a partner agency until June 30, 2004 and will receive about $157,000. Then -- although it will no longer be affiliated with the United Way -- the group will receive another $157,000 for 2005 as transition funding, Heidrick said. Then funding will stop.
Both sides say the split is amicable. The Boy Scouts have been a United Way Capital Area partner since 1927.
"The Scouts have conducted themselves very honorably during this process," Heidrick said.
Wednesday's decision comes after more than two years of discussion.
In June 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts have the right to exclude gays.
That decision spurred more than 50 local United Ways to change their relationship with the Scouts.
Some immediately cut ties with the group. Some phased out funding.
Others started working with Learning for Life, a Boy Scout-affiliated organization that allows gays to participate in its programs.
Many have remained firm supporters of the Scouts, which provides educational programs focused on character, citizenship and personal fitness.
United Way of America, the parent organization to the 1,400 affiliates across the country, did not take a position on the issue.
"We're convinced that's a decision that needs to be made on the local level," said Philip Jones, spokesman for the United Way of America.
After the 2000 court ruling, United Way Capital Area -- which raises money for 44 health and human service organizations -- scrutinized requirements for its agencies.
In March 2002, the board adopted an inclusion policy requiring all partner agencies to serve people without regard to issues such as race, color, gender or sexual orientation.
Of the 44 groups, 43 were in compliance with the policy. But the Boy Scouts organization was in violation because it does not accept "avowed homosexuals," according to the Scout's literature.
United Way and Boy Scouts officials met several times, then agreed to a friendly divorce.
Donors -- who can use the United Way to donate to any 501(c)(3) nonprofit registered with the IRS -- will still be able to give to the Scouts through their workplace campaigns.
But the Scouts will not be entitled to money raised through the United Way's community investment fund, which totaled $4.1 million last year.
The Scouts received about $157,000 from that fund in 2002.
"It's a big deal," Walcutt said. "We have a lot of supporters in Central Texas and we're going to ask them to do more."
Randall Ellis, executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, called the split a "bold step" for the United Way.
"It will go a long way to fostering tolerance and acceptance in Central Texas," he said.
Others say the United Way's decision smacks of political pressure that will hurt families.
"I think what it says about the United Way is that they are easily intimidated by a very politically active homosexual lobby that pushes a homosexual agenda," said Cathie Adams, president of the Texas Eagle Forum, a Dallas-based conservative group. "It's a travesty."
Heidrick said the United Way did not receive pressure to cut ties with the Boy Scouts.
The group cannot determine whether it has lost donations because of its affiliation with the Scouts, he said.
The Boy Scouts will remain a partner agency of the Georgetown Area United Way and the United Way of Hays County.
Something tells me that they allocate money to agencies NOW that don't serve "the entire community." They also indicate that they received NO pressure to part ways with the BSA. I think they lie on both counts.
I bet the Scouts make up a whole lot more than $157k when this is publicized, and that the UW loses a whole lot more.
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