National defense corporation Lockheed Martin decided to pull its funding from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) over the organization’s ban on gay adult leaders. Since imposing gay bans within its organization, the Boy Scouts of America has come under much criticism and lost funding from many other large contributors.
Lockheed Martin made the decision because the BSA’s anti-gay policy doesn’t coincide with the company’s own diversity commitments.
“We believe engaging with and funding an organization that openly discriminates is in conflict with our policies,” said Lockheed spokesman Gordon Johndroe. “While we applaud the mission of the Boy Scouts and the good things they do in our communities, their policies that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and religious affiliation conflict with Lockheed Martin policies.”
Other large entities that have pulled financial donations from the BSA over the last two years include UPS, Merck & Co., and Intel. The BSA has since lifted its ban on gay scouts, but that was not enough as companies, gay rights groups, and even those within the BSA demand equality.
BSA Middle Tennessee Council Camping Committee chair Bill Moser was a 50-year veteran with the Scouts. He resigned from his post after the BSA imposed its ban on gay scouts and scout leaders.
“I have been actively involved with Scouting for over 50 years, and my personal experience with Scouting has reinforced my belief that helping youth is a key to building a more conscientious, responsible, and productive society,” said Moser. “Teaching or practicing intolerance IS NOT in the Scout Oath or Law. . . I personally do not believe a 6-year old boy has a clue about sexuality.”
The Boy Scouts were founded in 1910 when gay rights would have been considered laughable, or even angering. Relatively quiet in that regard for nearly 70 years, the BSA had its first big issue with homosexuality in 1981. Tim Curran, Eagle Scout and aspiring scoutmaster, was denied mastership after he went to his high school prom with a male date.
Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Curran filed a suit against Mount Diablo Boy Scout Council. Seventeen years later, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the BSA saying that “the Boy Scouts are not subject to California’s anti-discrimination law.”
Sadly, even the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 ruled that the BSA has the right to discriminate against gays.
Today, gay rights groups have been calling for a reform in the BSA’s anti-gay policies and with much hope now. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been appointed as the BSA’s national executive board president. Gates had a large role in reforming the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, now allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military.