The Boy Scouts of America has lost its largest corporate donor, Intel, which announced Friday that it will no longer support the group until it vows to stop discriminating against gay people.
In a statement released to Think Progress on Friday, Intel’s Chief Diversity Officer, Rosalind Hudnell, confirmed that the company would no longer fund the Boy Scouts of America, so long as the Scouts stand by their long-held policy barring gay troops and leaders from participating in the organization.
“Due to significant growth in the number of organizations funded, earlier this year we revisited our policies associated with the program, and applied new rigor that requires any organization to confirm that it adheres to Intel’s anti-discrimination policy in order to receive funding,” said Hudnell.
The announcement comes just days after a petition calling on Intel to end its support of the Boy Scouts gathered more than 30,000 signatures in little more than 24 hours.
Leading that push was activist Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout raised by two lesbian moms.
“Intel made the right decision here, in order to live up to their corporate values of diversity, equality and individual liberty, said Wahls, in a statement.
“Companies that support the LGBT community simply can’t be in the business of funding organizations that discriminate. Frankly, by sending this message, Intel is upholding the true spirit of Scouting better than the BSA is today,” he said.
Wahls launched the petition earlier this week on Change.org calling on Intel to cease its financial support of the Boy Scouts until the group ends its ban on openly gay scouts and gay and lesbian scout leaders.
Wahls noted that in 2010, Intel gave nearly $700,000 to BSA despite its anti-gay policy.
The donations were in “direct conflict with Intel Foundation’s own funding criteria, which stipulates that Intel will not fund ‘Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, veteran or disability status,’” Wahls said.
Wahls, an engineering student at the University of Iowa, has taken a sabbatical from his studies to actively campaign for LGBT rights. He recently co-founded a pro-gay group called Scouts for Equality, which currently numbers around 1,500 members.
An Eagle Scout himself, Wahls became involved with the Boy Scouts issue delivering more than 275,000 signatures to the Boy Scouts of America at its National Annual Meeting in Florida in May, calling on the group to end its long history of anti-gay discrimination and reinstate Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell, who was forcibly removed as den leader of her son’s Boy Scout troop because she’s gay.
Wahls previously called on the Boy Scouts to reveal the identities of the 11-member committee that supposedly investigated whether to allow gay scouts and opted against it, and he’s pledged to approach local chapters to press for anti-discrimination policies.
Wahls first burst onto the national scene when he testified in November 2011 before the Iowa House of Representatives about the strength of his family and being raised by lesbian parents.
Video of his testimony went viral, and was the most-watched political clip of 2011, according to YouTube.
Wahls’ mothers were married in 2009 after a decision by the Iowa Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage; he is the author of the book, “My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family.”
Intel, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is the world’s largest and highest valued semiconductor chip maker, based on revenue.
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