US: 70,000 strong petition urges top donor to stop funding Boy Scouts for anti-gay policy

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Another of the biggest donors to the Boy Scouts of America has come under pressure to stop funding the organisation because of its anti-gay policy.

Verizon, a US communications company, has been one of the top donors to the BSA in recent years, but a new petition urges bosses to cease the funding because of a BSA policy which does not allow gay members, volunteers or staff.

In July 2012, after a two year review, the Boy Scouts of America announced it would retain its ban on gay members, volunteers and staff.

The petition, started by Scouts for Equality, and which had over 70,000 signatures, appeared on, argues that the BSA does not qualify for the funding under Verizon’s eligibility criteria.

Verizon gave at least $300,000 (£190,000) to the Boy Scouts in 2009, according to The American Independent.

“Verizon Communications Inc. recently received a perfect 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Now, Scouts for Equality — representing thousands of Scouts and Scout leaders across the country — is urging Verizon to act on that rating and help end the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy,” a statement on the petition page reads.

The Boy Scouts have already lost funding from several large corporate donors, including UPS, back in November, who had given over $150,000 (£95,000), Intel, another of the scouts’ largest donors, ceased funding back in September, and the Merck Foundation in December. 

Two weeks ago, gay teenager Ryan Andresen received his final decision to say that he had been denied the highest Boy Scouts honour, the Eagle Scout badge.

He had previously thought that the the national Boy Scouts of America organisation would approve his application because he had completed all of the requirements, and received a recommendation for approval from a review board at his local council, and had a 460,000 strong petition in his favour.

After appearing as a guest on the Ellen Degeneres Show, the 18-year-old Boy Scout was awarded a $20,000 (£12,476) scholarship towards his college fees. Mr Andresen was also recognised by Assembly Speaker, John Perez, who is openly gay himself, at the California state Assembly

Last week, a synagogue in California became the latest in a list of religious groups to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s policy, described as “damaging”.

A father of two from Brooklyn, New York, recently started his own Boy Scouts troop, inclusive of gay members, and girls, to allow his son to be a member without having to accept the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy.

The petition is available to view here.