Fallout for Boy Scouts – Some funders hold ground

A high court ruling that lets the Boy Scouts of America exclude gay members has prompted some big corporations to end their support of the charity, the Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 24.

Chase Manhattan and Knight Ridder are pulling hundreds of thousands of dollars in support, and Merrill Lynch & Co. is expected to cancel its funding, the Journal said.

“With the Supreme Court’s decision, it’s hard to justify the funding,” Jim Finn, a Chase Manhattan spokesman, told the Journal.

The Supreme Court in June ruled 5-4 that, as a private organization, the Scouts have a constitutional right to decide its membership. The ruling came after a 30-year-old former Eagle Scout who was kicked out for being gay later sued for discrimination.

Some companies now have decided that the Scouts’ rules conflict with the companies’ own diversity guidelines and could upset gay customers and employees, the Journal said.

Chase donated about $250,000 to the Scouts last year, while Merrill – which has given $1.9 million since 1987 — contributed about $150,000.

Other companies promise to keep supporting the Scouts, the Journal said, including American Airlines, AT&T and General Electric.

Contributions to the Scouts total $11.1 million in a revenue budget of $125.3 million. Separately, each of 300 local councils has its own budget.

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