The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 23, 2013

Funds for Scouts on hold over gay policy

By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — The Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way board is withholding funding to the Boys Scouts of America over its policy barring membership to homosexuals.

Keri Albright, United Way executive director and chief executive officer, said the vote was unanimous to place discretionary funding for the Susquehanna Council Boy Scouts in escrow pending the late-spring decision on whether to allow gay Scouts entry into the 103-year-old national private organization.

“We’ve had many concerns, comments, and frankly, vitriol, about our funding the Boy Scouts in light of their policy,” Albright said of the nearly dozen negative calls she receives each year pointing out the United Way’s requirement that funded agencies have policies opposing discrimination, including bias against sexual orientation.

“It’s the most divisive issue for us.”

Among the growing list of corporations and charitable organizations that have been prompted by the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policy to cut funding primarily because it conflicts with their own non-discrimination policies are the Harrisburg-area and Erie County chapters of the United Way; CVS Pharmacy; Merck Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts.

The local United Way allocated $25,200 to the Susquehanna Council Boys Scouts last year, with $8,250 specifically designated by donors to go to the private organization.