The entertainment giant Walt Disney Company will no longer fund Boy Scout troops because the organization does not allow gay adults to serve as scout leaders.
The decision, set to start in 2015, will affect several local chapters that receive funding in exchange for volunteer hours in conjunction with Disney efforts. Disney does not directly fund the Boy Scouts of America as a national organization.
A spokesman for the Boy Scouts expressed his disappointment with the media conglomerate’s decision and believed it would harm the group’s efforts to serve children.
“We believe every child deserves the opportunity to be a part of the Scouting experience and we are disappointed in this decision because it will impact our ability to serve kids,” Deron Smith said in a statement given to The Associated Press.
While the BSA is unhappy with the decision, an LGBT group dedicated to expanding leadership roles to gay adults cheered Disney’s action as a message to the organization that it must become “fully inclusive.”
“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 co-founder Zach Wahls said in a press statement. “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.”
Scouts for Equality was the first to break the news when they published an email from a local Orlando troop that let its members know that Disney would no longer fund its activities.
“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,” read the email sent by Central Florida Council President Robert Utsey.