Family Research Council recently received an email from someone who was concerned about our recent announcement that we would no longer use the shipping services of UPS, because their charitable arm, The UPS Foundation, had cut off funding to the Boy Scouts of America.

This constituent of FRC had contacted UPS about this issue, and was given what sounded like a denial of the FRC report:

UPS did not pull funding or take action that directly targets the Boy Scouts of America. We sincerely support the Boys Scout of America.

This response is highly misleading and conceals key facts about the situation. Perhaps UPS is beginning to realize that they made a mistake by pandering to the tiny population of homosexual activists, when polls show that a majority of Americans support the Boy Scouts’ policy on homosexuality.

Below is the response which FRC sent to our constituent. We offer it here for the edification of anyone else who might be taken in by UPS’s obfuscation:

Thank you for writing to us regarding the Family Research Council’s recent decision to stop doing business with UPS. We took this step because of a new UPS policy which effectively will block charitable funding to the Boy Scouts of America by the company’s charitable arm, the UPS Foundation.  The reason for this decision was the Scouts’ policy against openly homosexual members or leaders.

The spokesman who told you, “We sincerely support the Boys Scout of America,” was being misleading at best, and deceitful at worst. There is absolutely no question about two facts:

1) The UPS Foundation has given significant charitable gifts to the Boy Scouts of America in the past; and,
2) The UPS Foundation adopted a new policy in November which will have the effect of barring any future charitable gifts to the Boy Scouts, unless the Scouts reverse their policy on homosexuality.

Following is the timeline of these events. I will include links to source materials on the Internet, if you wish to check the facts for yourself.

On July 17, 2012, the Boy Scouts in America announced in a press release that after a two-year review, they had decided to make no changes in their longstanding policy against having openly homosexual Scouts or Scoutmasters.

This announcement led to a new round of criticism of the Scouts from homosexual activists—and new efforts to bring indirect pressure on them by encouraging corporate donors to stop funding the Scouts. One liberal online news outlet, The American Independent (TAI), wrote about the issue on September 18, 2012. UPS was one of the few companies that responded to inquiries, and indicated at that time that the Boy Scouts’ policy would not affect UPS Foundation funding of the Scouts:

Most of the corporations contacted by The American Independent would not directly say whether the Boy Scouts’ affirmation of its discriminatory policy would impact grant funding. The UPS Foundation, however, indicated there would be no change in the in its grant-making. UPS gave around $167,000 to various Boy Scout entities in 2010, including $100,000 to the national organization and $30,000 to the Boy Scouts’ Atlanta Area Council. That council confirmed to TAI that it follows the national policy on sexual orientation.

In a statement to TAI, UPS International Public Relations Manager Kristen Petrella said the Boy Scouts’ decision to affirm their policy excluding “open or avowed homosexuals” will not change the company’s funding choices.

This decision has not and will not impact The UPS Foundation’s decision to provide funding to BSA although we evaluate each funding request on an individual basis,” said Petrella. “UPS has always supported and will continue to support youth development. A large number of UPS employees were involved with the Boy Scouts in their youth and some of them continue to serve as scout leaders today. UPS believes in supporting organizations with which its employees are involved.”

Perhaps because of this statement, UPS became a particular focus of pro-homosexual pressure. A petition drive was mounted on the website Change.org, which promotes a variety of liberal causes, asking, “UPS: Pull your donations until the Boy Scouts pull their anti-gay policy.”

Over 80,000 people signed the online petition, and apparently it was effective. In November, the UPS Foundation posted a new non-discrimination policy on their website:

The UPS Foundation seeks to support organizations that are in alignment with our focus areas, guidelines, and non-discrimination policy. UPS and The UPS Foundation do not discriminate against any person or organization with regard to categories protected by applicable law, as well as other categories protected by UPS and The UPS Foundation in our own policies. These include, but are not limited to race, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran or military status, pregnancy, age and religion.

Since the Boy Scouts of America does not permit homosexuals to be Scouts or leaders, it is considered by some to “discriminate” on the basis of “sexual orientation.” And since “[t]he UPS Foundation seeks to support organizations that are in alignment with our … non-discrimination policy,” this means that the Boy Scouts will be barred from consideration for future charitable grants unless and until they welcome homosexual Scouts and Scoutmasters. The new policy thus effectively reversed the position a company spokesman had articulated only two months before.

The Change.org petition site celebrated this new policy as a “Victory!” The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) likewise touted the new UPS policy, issuing a press release which said,

UPS confirmed to GLAAD that under these guidelines, which UPS said have been in development for several months, organizations that are unable to attest to having a policy or practices that align with the Foundation’s non-discrimination policy will no longer be considered eligible for funding.

This change was also widely reported in the media, beginning on November 12, by outlets such as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (UPS no longer funding Boy Scouts”), the Atlanta Business Chronicle (UPS cuts future funding to Boy Scouts over org’s gay policies”) and the Associated Press (UPS ends grants to Boy Scouts over discrimination”).

You indicated that you received the following statement from a UPS spokesman:

UPS did not pull funding or take action that directly targets the Boy Scouts of America. We sincerely support the Boys Scout of America.

This statement is carefully worded to obscure the truth, rather than reveal it. UPS argues that it did not “pull” funding, because any grants already committed are not affected (their new policy applies only to future grants), and there were reportedly no new funding requests from the Boy Scouts pending with the UPS Foundation at the time the new non-discrimination policy was announced. They also argue that the new policy does not “directly target” the Boy Scouts, because the Scouts are not mentioned by name, and the policy will apply to all future grant recipients, not just to the Boy Scouts. Nevertheless, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported,

While UPS stopped short of saying the move was aimed at the Boy Scouts, the youth organization is the only one UPS had given to in the past that would be affected, company spokeswoman Kristen Petrella said.

Thus, when you strip away UPS’s game-playing with words like “pull” and “directly,” the facts remain as I stated them at the outset:

  1. The UPS Foundation has given significant charitable gifts to the Boy Scouts of America in the past; and, 
  2. The UPS Foundation adopted a new policy in November which will have the effect of barring any future charitable gifts to the Boy Scouts, unless they reverse their policy on homosexuality.

I don’t know how UPS can claim that they continue to “sincerely support the Boys Scout of America,” when they have made clear explicitly that they will not support them financially any longer, and implicitly have labeled them as discriminatory bigots.

Although FRC criticized UPS immediately when this news broke in mid-November, we held off on a final decision to stop doing business with them. First, FRC President Tony Perkins wrote a letter to the Chairman and CEO of UPS, D. Scott Davis, and this was followed by a personal phone call between Tony Perkins and a UPS representative. Only after it was made clear to Mr. Perkins that UPS would not budge on their new policy discriminating against the Scouts did we announce publicly our decision to seek other vendors for our shipping needs.

I hope this clarifies the facts about these events, and the positions of both UPS and FRC on this issue. I would note that FRC did not demand that UPS stop its extensive funding of “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” (“LGBT”) causes—only that they not actively discriminate against groups like the Boy Scouts which conscientiously hold a different viewpoint.

Unfortunately, as is too often the case in contemporary culture, UPS’s commitment to “diversity” apparently does not include respect for a diversity of viewpoints on issues of human sexuality.

Thank you for your support of our work, and for your interest in getting the facts straight about the events involving UPS and the Boy Scouts.