Scout Challenges Amazon: Funding Boy Scouts Violates Anti-Discrimination Policy

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May 19, 2014; Washington Post

How long will it take for the Boy Scouts to bring that other foot into this century? As the Boy Scouts of America started their 2014 annual meeting, 17-year-old Pascal Tessier, an openly gay Eagle Scout, delivered a petition signed by 120,000 people to Amazon, asking the retail giant to stop funding the Boy Scouts as part of its AmazonSmile program.

Last year, at its annual meeting, the Boy Scouts made the destined-for-trouble decision to allow gay scouts but to continue to exclude adult gay scout leaders, a group which Tessier would age into next year.

A spokesman for Amazon defended the inclusion of the Boy Scouts by saying that “We rely on lists published by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control to determine if certain organizations are ineligible to participate.”

Tessier used to gather signatures after he found that AmazonSmile prohibits the funding of organizations that “engage in, support, encourage, or promote: intolerance, discrimination or discriminatory practices based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age.” NPQ might suggest that the use of a list produced by Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, might not catch all groups that are discriminatory.

Tessier said, “We’re just asking Amazon to stand by its own policy, and its commitment to the LGBT community.”

Tessier wants to continue to participate in the Boy Scouts, but “the likelihood of that happening is very slim,” he said, “because there is so little time to change so many minds.”—Ruth McCambridge

  • Richard Keefe

    The hypocrites at the Southern Poverty Law Center have known about the BSA’s blatant anti-gay discrimination since 2000 but never said a single word about it until 2012, and that was practically an apology for the BSA.

    In 2012, SPLC co-founder Joe Levin wrote that back in 2000 the SPLC stopped donating to the United Way because of its support of the BSA, but Joe never got around to telling people about this act of protest. Not a word about the Boy Scouts for more than a decade. Can you imagine the impact the “hate group” label would have had on the BSA all those years ago?

    The SPLC STILL hasn’t branded the BSA a “hate group.” In fact, Joe Levin wrote:

    “Of course, the Boy Scouts of America doesn’t intend to encourage bigotry. But such policies can have that affect.” So, when the BSA announces that ALL gay men “Lack the moral values” to be Scouts and Scout Leaders, it’s merely “encouraging bigotry,” and completely unintentionally at that??

    The SPLC didn’t even designate its first “anti-LGBT hate group” until 2011, some 40 years after Joe Levin opened the center for business. Apparently, there just wasn’t enough anti-LGBT discrimination around to warrant the SPLC’s attention for all of those decades. The only reason the SPLC added anti-LGBT groups to its list in 2011 in the first place is because someone in marketing targeted the LGBT community as mostly younger, mostly Progressive, and most importantly, often affluent. It’s nothing more than a ham-fisted fundraising ploy.

    So why have Joe Levin and the SPLC given the BSA a free pass for all of these years? It’s simple. Many of the SPLC’s mostly elderly donors were Scouts, or the parents/grandparents of Scouts, and linking the almighty donor with a “hate group” is bad for business.

    “Fighting hate” is all well and good, until it cuts into the bottom line. Vaya con dinero, Joe.