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Gay Eagle Scout, ousted Scout leader urge Amazon to end Boy Scouts support

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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SEATTLE, Wash. — A Maryland teen, who earlier this year became the openly gay scout awarded the highest rank of Eagle Scout, was in Seattle on Wednesday to deliver more than 125,000 signatures from his Change.org petition urging Amazon.com to suspend donations to the Boy Scouts of America until it lifts its ban on gay and lesbian leaders.

Tessier, flanked by supporters outside of Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, was joined at the petition delivery by Geoff McGrath, the openly gay Scoutmaster from Seattle whose membership in the BSA was revoked because of his sexual orientation.

Tessier, McGrath, Seattle-area Scout leaders, and members of the advocacy groups Scouts for Equality and GLAAD gathered outside Amazon headquarters to urge the online retailer to suspend its support of the Boy Scouts.

“I am standing here today outside of Amazon.com’s headquarters to deliver one important message: discrimination is nothing to smile about,” said Tessier.

“I’m asking Amazon to stand by its own policy and its commitment to the LGBT community, and remove organizations that discriminate against LGBT people — like the Boy Scouts of America did when they fired Geoff McGrath — from their AmazonSmile program.”

Amazon supports the Boy Scouts through it charitable giving program, AmazonSmile, which donates 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases a the charitable organization of your choice.

Amazon says it relies on “lists published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control to determine if certain organizations are ineligible to participate.”

Last week, the co-founder of the SPLC said that if Amazon is following its own policies and the principles of the SPLC, on which Amazon claims to rely, the company should not include the Boy Scouts in the AmazonSmile program.

McGrath echoed that comment today in remarks made outside of Amazon.com’s headquarters.

“Amazon is not only condoning, it’s supporting discrimination right in its own backyard. Just a few miles from their offices is the church where I used to lead Boy Scouts Troop 98; that is, until I was told I could no longer serve because I’m gay,” McGrath said.

“Today, my fellow Scouts and I are here to deliver more than 125,000 petition signatures calling on Amazon to do one simple thing: follow your own rules and stop supporting discrimination against people like me.”

Representatives from Amazon received the petition signatures, but made no comments whether it will continue to include the Boy Scouts in the AmazonSmile program.

Wednesday’s petition delivery coincided with Amazon’s annual shareholders meeting in Seattle, as well as the Boy Scouts of America’s National Annual Meeting in Nashville.

Previously, UPS, Intel, Disney, Alcoa, and Lockheed Martin have suspended donations to the Boy Scouts until the ban on gay leaders is lifted.

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