Family entertainment corporation Disney has announced it will no longer support the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) from next year, following the BSA's refusal to allow gay men to lead scout packs.
The BSA finally caved in and allowed gay youths to become scouts last year but said its ban on adult gays would remain – a decision that was condemned by America's "Scouts for Equality", which exists to end discrimination within the organisation.
Scouts for Equality co-founder Zach Wahls said in a press release: "We're never happy to see Scouting suffer as a result of the BSA's anti-gay policy, but Disney made the right decision to withhold support until Scouting is fully inclusive."
However, the BSA claims Disney's decision will affect their ability to improve the lives of young people, pointing out that Disney didn't offer direct funding anyway.
BSA's director of public relations Deron Smith said: "We are disappointed in this decision because it will impact our ability to serve kids
"While Disney does not provide support to the national council or directly to local councils of the BSA, they did occasionally provide small grants to local Scout troops and packs through an employee program that recognised the volunteer service hours of its employees. We believe every child deserves the opportunity to be a part of the Scouting experience and we are disappointed in this decision because it will impact our ability to serve kids."
Although most people in America seem happy with the decision to allow gay boy scouts, the reaction has been mixed. Some parents, particularly those of a religious persuasion, claim the decision is based on "an artificial political and social agenda" and have removed their kids from the organisation.
Some anti-gay activists have now started a new organisation, "Trail Life", which operates in a similar way to the traditional scout movement with one exception: gay people aren't welcome. So far Trail Life has set up some 600 units in 40 states, still a long way behind the 2.5 million involved in scouting.
One parent, Ron Orr, who removed his 15-year-old son from the scouts' movement in favour of "Trail Life" explained: "As Christians from a scriptural basis, we love all folks, but the scripture is very clear that being homosexual is a sin. We've got to be able to hold a strong line and set a consistent example for our young men."