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Bill to Penalize Boy Scouts for Gay Membership Ban Clears Committee

Apr 10, 2013

A bill that would penalize the Boy Scouts of America for the group’s ban on gay membership has cleared its first hurdle in the California legislature.  As Capital Public Radio’s Marianne Russ reports, some groups could pay more taxes under the measure. 

The bill would remove sales and corporate tax exemptions from youth groups that discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity or religious affiliation.  Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara wrote the bill.

“Are we in California in the business of paying for discrimination?  I don’t think we are, and so this bill seeks to provide that remedy for folks,” says Lara.

Lara says if the Boy Scouts lift the ban on gay members, they would be able to re-apply for the tax exemptions.  Rick Cronk is a former Boy Scouts of America President.  He says the legislation would hurt local Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops more than the national organization:

“Would it kill scouting?  No.  It’s not going to kill scouting.  But it would hurt the kids who need the money most,” says Cronk.

Opponents argue the bill would also affect other youth organizations, such as sports teams.  The bill moves next to a fiscal committee.