Walt Disney World has dropped support for Orlando-area Boy Scouts of America (BSA) chapters for violating its discrimination policies.
Walt Disney World was supporting the BSA through its “Ears To You” program in which money is donated to charities supported by its employees. The BSA does not pass the Disney standards of nondiscriminatory practices in regard to “race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, marital status, mental or physical ability, or sexual orientation.”
Walt Disney World isn’t requiring its employees to cease volunteering with the Boy Scouts, but it will now not recognize volunteer hours logged by its employees with the BSA as valid to grant funding.
The Boy Scouts of America voted in the spring of 2013 to allow openly gay young men to join the Scouts, but only up until the age of 18. After that they must leave the Scouts. They are allowed to express their sexuality, but cannot wear their uniforms in pride parades.
According to the membership standards of the Boy Scouts of America, the scouts “do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”
Disney has historically been a gay-friendly company. There are unofficial “Gay Days” celebrated every June at the park, it offers health benefits to same-sex partners of employees and it allows same-sex marriage ceremonies on park grounds.
A letter from Robert Utsey, BSA’s Central Florida Council Board President to members said the BSA will “continue to keep an open line of communication with (Disney), but at this time, (is) unable to reverse (Disney’s) decision.”
Communication may be open, but its unlikely Walt Disney World will budge on the issue. Disney is the latest of several major sponsors that have cut ties with the organization, including Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Major League Soccer and UPS.