The head of the Great Southwest Council of the Boy Scouts of America says the council won't try to change the Scouts' national policy on homosexuals despite the apparent loss of United Way money to the Boy Scouts in Santa Fe.
"What the United Way of Santa Fe is asking us to do is abandon our First Amendment right, and we are not going to abdicate our First Amendment right or abandon our services to children in this area," Southwest Council executive director Phil Bevins said.The Boy Scouts of America's national policy of excluding homosexuals apparently will prevent the local organization from receiving future funding from United Way of Santa Fe County.
Between 600 and 800 boys in the Santa Fe area belong to the Great Southwest Council, which serves Boy Scouts in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona.
United Way of Santa Fe County has adopted an anti-discrimination policy and after this year will fund only those agencies that provide services without discrimination "on the basis of age, gender, race, religion or national origin, sexual orientation or disability."
The policy covers only funds over which the United Way has discretion, United Way's executive director Ron Stevens said Tuesday. Donors still may designate which agencies their contributions will go to, and those wishes will be honored.
United Way of Santa Fe received about $753,000 in pledges last year.
Letters were sent last week to all 21 affiliated agencies, explaining that agencies have until April 1995 to comply with the policy.