February 23, 2013

Youth Equality Act Would Eliminate Boy Scouts Tax-Exempt Status

"Boy's Life" boy scout magazine cover circa 1910

Sacramento, California --- Equality California and California State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) have partnered to draft a bill called the Youth Equality Act, that would eliminate a state tax exemption for youth organizations that discriminate against members on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Senator Lara said, “Our state values the important role that youth groups play in the empowerment of our next generation; this is demonstrated by rewarding organizations with tax exemptions supported financially by all Californians. SB 323 seeks to end the unfortunate discriminatory and outdated practices by certain youth groups by revoking their tax exemption privilege should they not comply with our non-discrimination laws.”

Eddie Kurtz, a former boy scout and straight ally, started a petition that urges 
the California legislature to take action on the measure. Eddie described his motivations for starting the petition:
I grew up in the Boy Scout tradition. I started out as a Cub Scout, transitioned through Webelos, and ended my Boy Scout journey as a Life Scout, one rank below Eagle. My closest friends were other scouts. Scouting stands for the finest qualities of humanity: self-reliance, creativity, and an appreciation of nature. Most of all, we were taught how to act as responsible, respectful citizens.
This is why the Boy Scouts’ continued policy of excluding members based on their sexual orientation is so upsetting to me. It flies in the face of the very values that the scouting tradition professes to teach. As a straight ally, I can't sit idle while the current leaders of the Boy Scouts disgrace this once-proud American institution with their personal bigotry.
I think this is a great development to encourage organizations like the Boy Scouts of America, to end their discriminatory ways.

If you would like to sign the petition, you will find it by clicking here.




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