EDITORIAL: Scouts win battle but lose PR war

The June Supreme Court ruling that allowed the Boy Scouts of America to exclude homosexuals was a purely Pyhrric victory.

The June Supreme Court ruling that allowed the Boy Scouts of America to exclude homosexuals was a purely Pyhrric victory.

The June Supreme Court ruling that allowed the Boy Scouts of America to exclude homosexuals was a purely Pyhrric victory.

Major corporations like Chase Manhattan and Levi Strauss & Co. have already withheld financial support, while Chicago, San Francisco and San Jose have told local Scout troops they can no longer use parks and schools to meet. For companies, organizations and municipalities alike, the issue is a communications quandary: do they deny opportunities for kids or support a group that violates their own anti-discrimination policies and statutes?

The Scouts may think their morals are straight, but their messaging couldn't be more skewed. Edelman's Gregg Shields, national spokesperson for the Scouts, dismissed the loss of corporate funding, saying 'we'll find someone to pay the registration, we'll find someone to donate that uniform that's sitting in the closet.' But what if the scout in the closet doesn't want to give up his uniform?

While the decisions of a few companies will not put a serious dent in the dollars 125 million raised annually by the Scouts, the effort to block them from meeting in public places raises practical - and PR - crises. What good is a uniform if the Scout troop has to meet in a parking lot? There is obviously a disconnect between the Scouts' national leadership and its local chapters.

The Scouts' PR department continues to shunt us off to the aptly named Shields. Funny - we thought the Scouts' motto was 'Be prepared.'



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