The Los Angeles Police Department’s Explorers youth program will end its nearly 50-year relationship with the Boys Scouts of America, citing the organization’s policy that discriminates against gays violates the city’s non-discrimination policy, reports KCBS-TV.
The Police Commission voted two months ago to end its relationship with the Scouts effective January 1, 2010, because of the organization’s policies barring gays, atheists and agnostics from being troop leaders.
The program had been operated by the Learning for Life Foundation, a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts.
LAPD Deputy Chief Earl Paysinger said the department will run the youth program under a different name independent of the Boy Scouts, with the program being funded in part through donations.
Police Commissioner Robert Saltzman, who is openly gay, said that since he cannot support the Boy Scouts, he has invested a lot of time to ensure the new youth program is “as good or — I’m confident — better than the program it replaces.”
“The Boy Scouts are clear that they discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity and religion, and the result of that is I could not be active on the Boy Scouts,” Saltzman said.
The Boy Scouts started the Explorers program in 1949 as a career-oriented program for boys; the LAPD began participating in 1962.