Verizon Communications Inc. recently received a perfect 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index. Now, Scouts for Equality -- representing thousands of Scouts and Scout leaders across the country -- is urging Verizon to act on that rating and help end the Boy Scouts of America's anti-gay policy.
Under the eligibility requirements listed on the Verizon Foundation's website, the company says it will NOT fund organizations that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. But in 2010, Verizon gave more than $315,000 in grants to the Boy Scouts, despite the Scouts' policy banning gay youth and leaders from participating.
As an Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality, I applaud Verizon's support for the Boy Scouts. The BSA has historically been a vital American institution critical in the development of our nation's future leaders. But on July 17, 2012, the BSA reaffirmed their discriminatory policy, stating in part: "…we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals…" And because of this policy, respected Scouts and Scout leaders -- like California Boy Scout Ryan Andresen and Ohio Den Mother Jennifer Tyrrell -- continue to be kicked out of the Boy Scouts, just because they are gay.
Until the Boy Scouts end this hurtful policy, they do not deserve the financial backing of companies that strive for workplace equality. Intel Corporation and UPS, two large corporate donors of the Boy Scouts, recently announced that they've updated their funding guidelines to reject organizations that discriminate -- including the Boy Scouts. Now it's time for Verizon to do the same.
Verizon's own website states that "At Verizon, Diversity means embracing differences and variety including age, ethnicity, education, sexual orientation, work style, race, gender and more. When diversity is a part of a company’s culture, as it is at Verizon, everyone benefits – customers, suppliers and employees." We urge Verizon to truly live by these words and use their influence to help end the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy.
Please join Scouts for Equality in calling on Verizon to enforce its own funding guidelines and pull its contributions to the Boy Scouts of America until the Boy Scouts pull their discriminatory policy.
NOTE: We encourage everyone to join this campaign, but if you're a current or former Verizon employee, or involved in Scouting, please say so in the "Reasons for signing" section. Thanks!
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