Press

Rallies in 19 States plus District of Columbia to Protest Boy Scouts' Discriminatory Policy

Date: 
August 18, 2000

Activists will rally in 36 communities in 19 states and Washington, D.C. Monday, Aug. 21 as part of a National Day of Protest against the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) policy of discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Organized by the national group Scouting For All, the protests come as an increasing number of governmental entities, United Way chapters and private corporations are moving to end sponsorship or funding of local Boy Scout troops because of the national policy of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. According to Scouting For All, the City of Chicago, public school districts in San Francisco and San Diego and United Way chapters in Massachusetts Bay, New Haven, Conn., Portland, ME and Santa Fe, N.M all have moved to cut funding or end sponsorship. In addition, private corporations such as JP Morgan, Wells Fargo Bank and Levi Strauss have cut funding, and several churches, including the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ have called on the Boy Scouts of America to drop its policy and instead model inclusion and respect.

The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this summer in Dale v. Boy Scouts of America ruled 5-4 that BSA has a legal right to discriminate. The BSA’s refusal to end its discriminatory policy following that ruling led the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to urge President Clinton to sever his ties with the Boy Scouts of America. BSA’s inaction also led U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey and others to introduce legislation – known as the Scouting for All Act -- that would revoke the Boy Scouts’ Congressional charter.

"We commend Scouting For All's efforts to end the Boy Scouts' discriminatory policy," said NGLTF Executive Director Elizabeth Toledo. "Those who value the good things Scouting would have to offer in a positive atmosphere of inclusion must speak up for change. Meanwhile, we can tell the Scouts that if you discriminate, you will not do so with public dollars or public support."

Monday's protests will take place in the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and in Bethesda, on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. In most cases, protests will take place at Boy Scouts' local headquarters.

For information regarding the site of the protests and local contacts, please visit www.scoutingforall.org and click on the "Action Alert Information Center," then click on the list of protest sites.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.