U.S. aerospace, defense and security company Lockheed Martin has announced that it will cease donations to the Boy Scouts of America over its ban on gay leaders, the AP reports:
"We believe engaging with and funding an organization that openly discriminates is in conflict with our policies," [spokesman Gordon Johndroe] said. "While we applaud the mission of the Boy Scouts and the good things they do in our communities, their policies that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and religious affiliation conflict with Lockheed Martin policies."
This year, the Irving, Texas-based Boy Scouts revised its policy to allow gay boys to participate in Scouting, but it maintained the ban on gay leaders. The change drew criticism from both sides of the debate over the anti-gay policy.
Johndroe said Lockheed Martin was pleased to see the Boy Scouts revise its membership policy but opposes the continued ban on gay leadership. The company's review of its philanthropy came at the end of the year as it reevaluates priorities for 2014, he said.
"We're taking a close look at all nonprofit organizations we support to ensure they align with our company's core values," Johndroe said.
Scouts for Equality founder Zach Wahls praised the company’s decision in an interview with Buzzfeed, saying that he hopes the news resonates with BSA leadership.
“This is a big deal for two reasons,” Wahls told BuzzFeed. “First, it’s another clear sign of where the country’s business community is on this issue. And second, it’s particularly important given the ascendance of Bob Gates to the Boy Scouts executive board. He is taking over in May of 2014 and as a former secretary of defense, he has a unique relationship with Lockheed Martin. This says the issue is not going away.”