Yesterday’s announcement by the Boy Scouts of America that it has already rejected a proposal to end its longstanding policy of discrimination against LGBT scouts and leaders claimed that “BSA leadership agrees this is the best policy for the organization and supports it for the BSA.” But rather than using its in-house communications team to distribute the anti-equality announcement, the BSA relied on its outside public affairs firm, Fleishman-Hillard.
Unlike BSA, which continues to cling to an exclusionary policy that that drives its membership down and flies in the face of its own core tenets, Fleishman-Hillard recognizes that anti-LGBT discrimination is bad social policy and bad business.
Fleishman-Hillard, on the LGBT section of its website notes:
Gays and lesbians rank among the most powerful, loyal — and largely untapped — consumer markets across the globe. We understand how to reach this community because we’re a part of it.
In highlighting the positive “social — and financial — impact of LGBT-friendly policies,” the firm notes that LGBT-inclusion is an “invaluable recruitment tool” for great talent. And on its Out Front blog, Fleischman-Hillard emphasizes “the agency’s tradition as a communications pioneer within the gay and lesbian community.”
A Fleischman-Hillard spokeswoman told ThinkProgress:
Fleishman-Hillard is an inclusive company that values and encourages diversity and treats all of our employees equally without regard to sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We work with a wide variety of organizations that have differing views on societal issues. We provide each of them with our best communications counsel. We do not agree with every client on every issue, and we do not expect them to agree with us on every issue. While our policies and perspectives differ on this subject, we support the Boy Scouts of America’s vision of preparing American youth to become responsible citizens and leaders, and we work with them on communications programs to support this vision.
Unfortunately, BSA’s vision is only to prepare some youth to become responsible citizens and leaders. Worse still, the group is teaching those youth that discrimination is acceptable — a message that even its own public relations team knows is both morally wrong and a waste of top talent.