Gay-friendly employer Walt Disney World announced this week that it will no longer provide charitable funding to the Boy Scouts of America, due to the recent policy change that still prohibits gay men from serving in the highest ranks of the organization.
According to a Disney spokesperson, “their views do not currently align with the BSA.”
Walt Disney World has reportedly subsidized local chapters of the BSA in the Orlando area as part of its “Ears to You” program, which awards grants to organizations Disney employees volunteer for. According to Reuters, doing so would violate the company’s Standards of Business Conduct, which prohibits “harassment or discrimination” based on “sex, sexual orientation, and gender identification.”
The news was confirmed by BSA Central Florida Council Board President Robert Utsey in an email to local members on Thursday:
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.
The decision is being praised by Zach Wahls, co-founder of Scouts for Equality, a national campaign to end discrimination within the BSA. “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,” he said in a statement. “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.”