Disney World cutting financial support of Boy Scouts over gay policy

March 3, 2014 at 2:48 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., March 3 (UPI) -- The Boy Scouts of America's gay policy is costing it financially in Florida, with Walt Disney World severing its ties with the youth organization.

The head of a scouts council in Florida said in an email to troop leaders and parents last week Walt Disney World decided to end contributions to the organization through its employee volunteer program, the Orlando Sentinel reported Friday. Disney's decision will affect funding beginning in 2015, the newspaper said.

"The National BSA [Boy Scouts of America] Council has reached out to WDW 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," Robert Utsey of the Central Florida Council wrote.

While the Boy Scouts last year decided to allow openly gay scouts, it is holding the line against openly gay troop leaders.

"Certainly we're disappointed that some funding ... has been cut," Tico Perez, an Orlando lawyer who is the Boy Scouts' national commissioner. "However, we are not surprised. Disney was very forthright that this was coming down the pike, and they're otherwise great community partners. We hope to work with them on other things in the future where our interests align."

A Disney representative said the entertainment company had no comment on the decision but noted corporate policy prohibits giving money to groups that "operate or support activities that are counter to the policies of the Walt Disney Co.," the Sentinel reported.

Disney said in 2013 it distributed $916,000 in volunteer grants to 450 local agencies. Perez said it was difficult to ascertain how much Disney money wound up with scout troops in Central Florida, where there are about 25,000 scouts and 8,000 adult volunteer leaders, the Sentinel said.

The newspaper said Disney workers who volunteer with the Boy Scouts will receive credit for the time they put in, but won't be able to donate grant money to the organization.

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