Last month, The American Independent uncovered various corporate donations to the Boy Scouts of America, noting that many of the companies have LGBT-inclusive policies that don’t jibe with the Scouts’ anti-gay discrimination. Zach Wahls of Scouts for Equality first targeted Intel for its giving, prompting Intel to clarify it implemented a new policy this past year requiring grant recipients to vow not to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Now, Wahls has a new petition calling on shipping and freight company UPS to follow suit.
Unlike Intel, which was eager to clarify that it had rectified its donation program so as not to fund discrimination, UPS proved to be a bit indignant about its support of the Boy Scouts, defending the $167,000 it gave in 2010, including $100,000 directly to the national organization. (Intel only gave to local chapters that its employees worked with.) According to UPS International Public Relations Manager Kristen Petrella, the company does not care about ongoing discrimination against gay scouts and leaders:
PETRELLA: This decision has not and will not impact The UPS Foundation’s decision to provide funding to BSA although we evaluate each funding request on an individual basis. UPS has always supported and will continue to support youth development. A large number of UPS employees were involved with the Boy Scouts in their youth and some of them continue to serve as scout leaders today. UPS believes in supporting organizations with which its employees are involved.
This seems to be a gross violation of the LGBT-inclusive principles that inform UPS’s past 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, which UPS boasts on its own website. (HRC adjusted its criteria this past year and UPS now has a 90 percent rating because it does not offer transition-related care for transgender employees.) There is little reason that the mailing company couldn’t follow Intel’s innovative model of requiring Scout troops it supports to commit to being gay-inclusive, although this would impact its substantial giving to the national organization. If UPS is truly committed to LGBT equality, it should find a way to encourage the charitable work of its employees without compromising these principles.