Equal Scouting Summit to take place next week when BSA discusses gay ban

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Scouts for Equality and the Inclusive Scouting Network are holding a national Equal Scouting Summit next week while the Boy Scouts’ National Council debates whether or not to allow gay youth.

The event will bring together national leaders and discuss how to make the BSA more inclusive moving forward. Jennifer Tyrrell, Zach Wahls, Greg Bourke, Will Oliver and Eagle Scout Dave McGrath, who is biking 1,800 miles with his son for equality, are among the speakers.

The Voice of the Gay Scout project will also be a part of the summit. Gay Scouts are encouraged to send letters about what they would say to members of the BSA’s National Council. Scouts and allies will bring the letters to the National Council and read them aloud. Letters can be sent to voice@inclusivescouting.net.

The summit is May 22-24 at the Great Wolf Lodge, 100 Great Wolf Drive in Grapevine.

For more information or to RSVP, go here.

—  Anna Waugh

Merck suspends Boy Scout funding

Merck became the third major company in three months to suspend funding of the Boy Scouts because of its discrimination policies.

The first two companies — UPS and Intel — suspended giving to the Boy Scouts after Scouts for Equality questioned why those companies donated to an organization whose policies are in conflict with nondiscrimination giving guidelines. Merck stopped its donations apparently after an internal “re-evaluation” that was part of a “broader review of funding decisions in 2013.”

“The BSA’s policy of exclusion based on sexual orientation directly conflicts with the Merck Foundation’s giving guidelines,” the giving arm of the drug maker announced on its website.

The foundation re-evaluated funding after the Boy Scouts of America restated its policy to continue excluding based on sexual orientation last summer. That announcement came during the visit to Dallas of Cub Scout mom Jen Tyrrell who had been removed from her position because she is lesbian. During Tyrrell’s visit, the Boy Scouts claimed to have been studying a change to their policy for two years but would not release the study or the names of the 11 people the the group claimed were on the committee that reviewed it.

Tyrrell was in Dallas at the time to deliver a Change.org petition to reinstate her that had gathered 300,000 signatures. The petition is still open for additional signatures.

—  David Taffet