Charitable contributions will no longer be made to BSA or local troops as part of Walt Disney World's "Ears For You" grant program.
Central Florida Council Board President Robert Utsey reportedly addressed the issue in an email to members earlier today.
“We recognize that many Scout Units have received financial support over the last several years from this grant opportunity and are sad to see it go. The National BSA Council has reached out to [Walt Disney World] to try to resolve the situation, however, according to WDW, their views do not currently align with the BSA and they are choosing to discontinue this level of support.”
In a vote last May, BSA’s National Council ended the group’s longstanding and controversial ban on LGBT youth. At the same time, they reinforced their ban on LGBT adults, meaning that openly LGBT scouts are no longer recognized by BSA after turning 18, and no longer permitted to participate in any scouting experiences, including volunteer and leadership roles.
Scouts for Equality co-founder and Eagle Scout Zach Wahls praised Walt Disney World’s decision.
“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. Scouts for Equality will continue to advocate for a fully inclusive membership policy, to help build a stronger Scouting community that is eligible for the support of Corporate America.”
As the straight son of a lesbian couple, Wahls has been working to reverse the BSA's policies of discrimination and exclusion. Since its inception in 2012, Scouts for Equality has succeeded in influencing seven major corporations - including Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Major League Soccer, Merck, Intel, UPS and now Walt Disney World -- to end their sponsorship.