By Scouts for Equality
On 26, Feb 2014 | In Campaign News | By Scouts for Equality
Scouts for Equality, the national campaign to end discrimination within the Boy Scouts of America, praised Walt Disney World’s decision to end its local support of the Boy Scouts of America’s Central Florida Council.
“We’re never happy to see Scouting suffer as a result of the BSA’s anti-gay policy, but Disney made the right decision to withhold support until Scouting is fully inclusive,” said Eagle Scout and Scouts for Equality co-founder Zach Wahls. “Scouts for Equality will continue to advocate for a fully inclusive membership policy, to help build a stronger Scouting community that is eligible for the support of Corporate America.”
Mr. Wahls is the straight son of a lesbian couple. Under the BSA’s current membership policy, parents like Wahls’ are still banned from being a part of their son’s Scouting experience, and gay Eagle Scouts will still be barred from Scouting on their 18th birthday.
In an e-mail to local members, Central Florida Council Board President Robert Utsey wrote: “We recognize that many Scout Units have received financial support over the last several years from this grant opportunity and are sad to see it go. The National BSA Council has reached out to [Walt Disney World] to try to resolve the situation, however, according to WDW, their views do not currently align with the BSA and they are choosing to discontinue this level of support.”
Since Scouts for Equality’s inception in 2012, seven major corporate sponsors of the Boy Scouts of America have ended their partnerships with the organization. These sponsors include Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Major League Soccer, Merck, Intel, UPS and now Walt Disney World.
The quintessential Scouting film Follow Me, Boys! was produced by Walt Disney Productions in 1966 and is regularly played every summer at Boy Scout camps across the country. The film was one of the last movies produced by Walt Disney, who died of lung cancer two weeks after Follow Me, Boys! was released.
The full contents of Mr. Utsey’s email to the Central Florida Council can be found below:
Fellow Scout Leaders & Parents:
It has recently come to our attention that the grant program titled “Ears to You” provided by Walt Disney World, to their employees, will be discontinued for Scouting volunteers. WDW will no longer recognize volunteer hours with the Scout Council, District or Unit to receive grant funding.
We recognize that many Scout Units have received financial support over the last several years from this grant opportunity and are sad to see it go. The National BSA Council has reached out to WDW to try to resolve the situation, however, according to WDW, their views do not currently align with the BSA and they are choosing to discontinue this level of support.
We will continue to keep an open line of communication with them, but at this time, are unable to reverse their decision. If you are a WDW employee and have any concerns or questions about your volunteer service, I encourage you to reach out to your direct supervisor.
Central FL Council Board President
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
Central Florida Council
Wayne Densch Boy Scout Service Center
1951 South Orange Blossom Trail |
Apopka, Florida 32703-7747