We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Disney ends funding to Boy Scouts over gay policy


The Walt Disney Company will cut funding to the Boy Scouts of America beginning in 2015 because of a policy that bans gay adult leaders in the organisation.

The Boy Scouts organisation is "disappointed" by the decision, which will affect the organisation's ability to serve children, Deron Smith, a Boy Scouts spokesman, said in a statement on Sunday night.

"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," he said.

Disney does not give money directly to the national organisation or local BSA councils, but its VoluntEARS programme allows employees to do volunteer work in exchange for cash donations to their chosen charities.

According to Disney's charitable giving guidelines, groups become ineligible to receive Disney funding if they “discriminate in the provision of services unlawfully or in a manner inconsistent with Disney's policies on the basis of race, religion, colour, sex, national origin, age, marital status, mental or physical ability, or sexual orientation”.

In an e-mail to local members, Central Florida Council Board President Robert Utsey wrote: “We recognise 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.”

Scouts for Equality said that seven major corporate sponsors of the BSA have ended their partnerships since the group was set up in 2012.

These sponsors include Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Major League Soccer, Merck, Intel, UPS and now Walt Disney World.