Beacon Fellowship Columbus has learned that the Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of America signed a required non-discrimination statement with the United Way of Central Ohio (UWCO) in order to receive funding from the agency. But the Council also sent a "clarification" letter saying that the organization "will not unlawfully discriminate against anyone". The BSA maintains that it has the right to select its own volunteers based upon its own policies.

Some BSA Councils will say they won't discriminate out of one side of their mouth in order to secure funding, get reduced city owned/taxpayer building space, use of public schools and government lands." says Scott Cozza, President of Scouting for All, a national organization working to end the polices of bigotry and discrimination from the BSA. "There is absolutely NO BSA Council that has defied the BSA's national policy of discrimination. That means that no gay or atheist child or adult can feel safe as a member of the BSA, nor can they join this youth outdoor program" Cozza says.

"The United Way needs to stop funding bigotry and give that money to agencies that do not discriminate against people because of their religious beliefs or non-beliefs and/or sexual orientation" says Perry Slone, Beacon Director. "Discrimination is wrong...period" Slone says. The Simon Kenton Council received nearly $500,000 from the UWCO last year.

UWCO requires the agencies it funds to sign a statement that prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, veteran status or socioeconomic status.

The United Way Board of Directors will decide at their meeting on February 22, 2005 if they will accept the "clarification" letter from the Council and continue funding them.

We encourage you to send letters or make phone calles to the UWCO. Tell them to stand up against bigotry and discrimination and ask them to deny funds to the Simon Kenton Council or any other BSA council or group on the grounds that they discriminate and such discrimination not only violates United Way policy, but is morally wrong and sends the wrong message to the kids in the BSA:

Attn: Board of Directors
United Way of Central Ohio
360 South Third Street
Columbus OH 43215

Beacon Fellowship Columbus
PO Box 10814, Columbus OH 43201
614-302-4948 (Monday-Friday 2-6pm)
E-mail us at
Perry Slone, Director

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