Officials with the Boy Scouts of America say they are disappointed in the Walt Disney Co.’s decision to pull funding from the Scouts because, while the organization now admits openly gay young people under the age of 18, it bars out gay adults from serving as volunteers.
“We believe every child deserves the opportunity to be a part of the Scouting experience and we are disappointed in this decision because it will impact our ability to serve kids,” BSA spokesman Deron Smith said in a statement issued to the Associated Press Sunday.
Disney does not fund the national organization, but it gives some money to local scouting groups in exchange for volunteer hours worked by Disney employees, according to the AP.
The company’s decision became public after the leader of a Florida Boy Scout council let members know Disney was discontinuing its support. “According to [Walt Disney World], their views do not currently align with the BSA,” wrote Central Florida Council board president Robert Utsey. “We will continue to keep an open line of communication with them, but at this time, are unable to reverse their decision.” Scouts for Equality, a group working for full LGBT inclusion in the Boy Scouts, posted his email on its website.
Scouts for Equality cofounder Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout who is the straight son of lesbian mothers, praised Disney’ move. “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,” Wahls said on the website.
Disney officials did not respond to the AP’s requests for comment.