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Girl Scouts sue Boy Scouts over efforts to include girls

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Girl Scouts sue Boy Scouts over efforts to include girls
The Boy Scouts of America are being sued by the Girl Scouts for trademark infringement. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The Girl Scouts of America has filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts, saying the group's gender-neutral efforts to include girls is confusing and has led to membership losses.

The 50-page lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court Tuesday accuses the BSA of trademark infringement, dilution and unfair competition. Both groups have served boys and girls for more than 100 years.

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"That core gender distinction between the two organizations and their use of the term SCOUTS and variations thereof has been altered by BSA's recent decision to offer all of its services to both boys and girls of all ages," the suit says.

In February, the BSA will start admitting girls into a new program called Scouts BSA, in which boys and girls will earn merit badges, camp and work toward Eagle Scout awards. In May, the Boy Scouts unveiled a new marketing campaign -- "Scout me in" -- and dropped the word "boy" from its name.

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The Girl Scouts said it opposes the lack of a gender identifier before the word "Scout."

Confusion over which organization girls should join led to the Girls Scouts of Northern Illinois to lose more than 500 girls this year, the group said.

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The Boy Scouts said in a statement it's reviewing the suit.

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"Our decision to expand our program offerings for girls came after years of requests from families who wanted the option of the BSA's character and leadership development programs for their children -- boys and girls," the organization told UPI. "We applaud every organization that builds character and leadership in children, including the Girl Scouts of the USA, and believe that there is an opportunity for both organizations to serve girls and boys in our communities."

The group said its new slogan fits the group's mission.

"Cub Scouts is a lot of fun, and now it's available to all kids," BSA marketing director Stephen Medicott said in May. "That's why we love 'Scout Me In' -- because it speaks to girls and boys and tells them, 'This is for you. We want you to join!'"

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