Merck Condemns Boy Scout Gay Ban, Halts Funding

Boy Scout Gay Ban Cause Merck to Halt Charitable FundingMerck & Co. has ended all of its funding to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) because of the organization’s refusal to allow gay and lesbian scouts and leaders. The decision was praised by gay-rights organizations, including GLAAD and Scouts for Equality, which have avidly petitioned corporations to take a stand against the ban.

The announcement, made by Merck Foundation Executive Vice President Brian Grill, is an affirmation of the company’s core value of inclusion. Merck & Co. is No. 16 in the 2012 DiversityInc Top 50.

“We cannot continue to provide support to an organization with a policy that is contrary to one of our core beliefs. We remain ready and willing to re-consider our funding position in the event that the BSA were to revise its policy,” Grill said in a statement. “We’re confident that this decision is aligned with our high ethical giving standards and strong core beliefs, and reinforces our long-standing commitment to policies that prevent against discrimination.”

The company also plans to review its other funding decisions for 2013 and will evaluate whether those contributions align with the company’s policies and ethical beliefs.

Records show that in 2011, Merck gave $30,000 to the Boy Scouts of America and $10,000 to the Cradle of Liberty Council, which governs troops in the Philadelphia area, where Merck Chairman, President and CEO Kenneth Frazier grew up.

LGBT Discrimination & Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts’ gay ban, which prohibits LGBT people from participating in the organization as leaders and scouts, has been in place for more than a decade. In June, the BSA was slammed by LGBT supporters when it failed to make any revisions to its anti-gay ban and refused to allow Jennifer Tyrrell, a lesbian, to resume leadership of her troop.

Other corporations have suspended funding to the BSA as well. Additionally, two Boy Scouts board members have spoken out on the issue: Ernst & Young (No. 6 in the DiversityInc Top 50) Chairman and CEO Jim Turley became the first board member and corporate leader to publicly urge the BSA to change its policy, and AT&T (No. 4) Chairman, President and CEO Randall Stephenson also issued a public statement promoting diversity and inclusion. Both companies earned 100 percent scores on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.

Ernst & Young, No. 4 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for LGBT Employees, and Turley in particular have been very visible supporters of diversity and inclusion.  Turley spoke at a DiversityInc event, for example, about his public pronouncement for the rights of women in Saudi Arabia, and he served as keynote for the Committee for Economic Development’s release of its “How More Women on Corporate Boards Would Make America and American Companies More Competitive” report.

Stephenson also spoke at a DiversityInc event, discussing the need for cultural diversity in education and corporations’ responsibility to build diverse talent pipelines among talented youth. AT&T is No. 8 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for LGBT Employees.

Also read:

Supreme Court to Hear Prop 8, DOMA Cases

Diversity Wins: Demographic, Psychographic Shifts Decided Election

Gay-Cure Ban Stops ‘Quackery’ Therapy

LGBT Pride Facts & Figures

Ask DiversityInc: How Can Corporations Support Same-Sex Marriage?

Safe LGBT Spaces: What Schools Can Learn From Resource Groups

Tags:

1 Comment

  • grannybunny

    Good for Merck; more contributors should follow their lead. My son was a Cub and then a Webelo Scout. Most of the boys in his troops lived with their mothers in single-parent homes, with little to no interaction with their fathers. As a result, the groups were overwhelmingly led by the mothers. That all stopped when they got to be Webelos, due to the Boy Scouts’ rule that — from that point on — all troops had to be led by men. This led to bizarre results, like group parent-child campouts — where each child is supposed to be accompanied by a parent, to nurture family closeness — in which children, in order to participate, had to, instead, share a tent with an unrelated male, possibly even a stranger (not to mention, a pedophile). Needless to say, most of the boys from fatherless homes dropped out at that point. Thus, the Boy Scouts managed to discriminate against both women and single-parent homes — and their children, who tend to be lower-income — in one fell swoop.

Leave a Reply


Close

Receive DiversityInc Newsletters and Alerts