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Tempe cuts off Scouts

By Elvia Dmaz
The Arizona Republic Online
September 22, 2000
Web posted at: 11:38 AM EDT (1538 GMT)

TEMPE, Arizona (The Arizona Republic Online) -- Tempe will not give a dime to the local Boys Scouts of America, becoming the first Valley city to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that homosexuals can be banned from membership.

At the city's request, Valley of the Sun United Way has agreed not to funnel any of the $80,000 expected to be raised during Tempe's campaign to the Boy Scouts, said Neal Haddad, the agency's senior vice president.

So far, Tempe is the only city that has raised the issue, Haddad said. Officials in Mesa, Chandler and Scottsdale all said Thursday that they won't be changing their campaigns this year.

Without discussing the issue, the Tempe City Council on Thursday backed an earlier decision made by Acting Tempe City Manager John Greco.

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Tempe isn't singling out the Boy Scouts, Greco said before Thursday's council meeting. The city is simply asking Valley of the Sun United Way not to give Tempe money to groups that discriminate.

"We don't think anybody should be discriminated against," Greco said. "It's just wrong."

Mayor Neil Giuliano, who is openly gay, wasn't available for comment Thursday evening.

Haddad said the Boy Scouts, which get about $491,000 from Valley of the Sun, aren't breaking the law because the Supreme Court allowed troops to exclude homosexuals.

The Valley of the Sun is agreeing to Tempe's demands because the agency's goal is to raise the most money among local United Way chapters, Haddad said.

United Way is designing specific pledge cards for Tempe, which carry a disclaimer stipulating that contributions from city workers will go only to organizations that have all-inclusive policies, Haddad said.

Tempe officials also want a commitment from Valley of the Sun to draft a non-discrimination policy. If it doesn't, Tempe will consider ending its relationship with the agency.

Haddad said that, in fact, the organization already has such a policy, reiterating that the Boy Scouts aren't legally discriminating against homosexuals.

In June, the Supreme Court overturned a 1999 ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court that applied to the state's law against discrimination in public accommodations to require a New Jersey Scout troop to readmit an assistant Scoutmaster, James Dale. Dale had been dismissed after it was learned he was gay.



RELATED STORIES:
House rejects effort to revoke Boy Scouts charter
High court allows Boy Scouts to exclude gays


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