Growing up in an active scout family, I started as a Tiger Scout and eventually earned the rank of Eagle. The experience was very important to me, and I saw first hand the critical impact it had on my troopmates from less well-established households. I only became aware of the discriminatory policies of the national organization as I was turning 18.
My council, like the Susquehanna Council apparently, worked hard to shield its members from these legal but immoral policies. A United Way chapter operates by choosing a number of local priorities, selecting local non-profits that address these priorities and then operating a single fund-raising campaign. Many employers, including my own, give many advantages to the United Way, including direct access to payroll systems and privileged internal advertising. Therefore all the funded organizations need to meet the non-discrimination policies of the employers that help them. Just as my employer would not help fund a white-only food bank, it should also not help fund an organization that discriminates against gay members and volunteers. Discrimination is discrimination. Period. We don't even have to address the slander that gays are pedophiles.
The Boy Scouts can legally discriminate, but they can not expect popular support by mainstream organizations if they do. This has become additionally poignant now that my wife and I have a child who will hopefully enter scouting in due time. I hope that the local members of the Boy Scout National Council vote for the proposed changes in May. If they do and are joined by other across the nation, GSVUW should deliver the escrowed funds and I promise to submit a volunteer application that night along with my first donation since I was a scout.
Josh Steinhurst, Lewisburg