The story of Ryan Andresen’s ouster from his Boy Scout troop earlier this year caused wide-spread controversy about the role of gay youth in the National Boy Scouts of America. Andresen was initially denied the scout’s highest honor, Eagle Scout designation, because he was gay. Once the story became a national headline, he was eventually reinstated and the scouts changed its policy on gay members.
However, the group insisted that gay scout leaders could not be a part of the organization. While the decision appeased many who believe that gay children should not be denied opportunities because of their sexual orientation, some California lawmakers believe that the Boy Scouts are still discriminating against gay adults.
Because of that, they are considering a measure that would strip the tax-exempt status of any non-profit organization that discriminates against gays, lesbians and transgender individuals. The bill would essentially force the Boy Scouts to pay California sales and use taxes, which it currently does not have to pay because of its tax exempt status.
The bill is just as controversial as the scout leader policy. The California Association of Non-Profits opposes the measure, even though it believes that organizations should not discriminate based on sexual orientation. However, it believes that a tax board should not be in the position of managing discrimination policy.
Also, the place the Boy Scouts hold in the hearts of most Californians makes the bill more difficult to reconcile when it is compared to other non-profit organizations. Nevertheless, the bill passed the California Senate and awaits a vote by the assembly.
Source: NPR.org, California lawmakers target Boy Scouts’ tax exempt status, September 3, 2013