DALLAS Dec 19 Lockheed Martin Corp, the top
U.S. defense contractor, has halted donations to the Boy Scouts
of America because of the group's policies on religion and to
exclude some gays from its ranks, it said on Thursday.
Lockheed's decision makes it the latest corporate
sponsor to pull its donations from the Scouts, which voted to
end a ban on gay scouts effective at the start of 2014, but has
left in place a prohibition on gays serving as adult Scout
"While we applaud the mission of the Boy Scouts and the good
things they do in our communities, their policies that
discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and religious
affiliation conflict with Lockheed Martin policies," spokesman
Gordon Johndroe said in a statement.
The Boy Scouts believe that no member can grow into the best
kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God, the
group says in its charter.
Lockheed did not disclose the amount of money it regularly
donated to the Scouts.
Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said the organization that has
had several million members over its more than century-long
history, respected Lockheed's right to express its own opinion.
"Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree
on this topic and still work together to accomplish the common
good," Smith said in an emailed statement.
The ban on gays in leadership also has cost the Boy Scouts
other corporate sponsors.
Illinois-based Caterpillar Inc suspended its
$25,000-a-year support for a local Illinois council in 2013,
saying it could not support an organization that continued to
discriminate against homosexuals.
Intel Corp, one of the largest corporate sponsors
of the Boy Scouts, said in September 2012 that it would stop
supporting troops that continue to ban gay scouts. Intel donated
about $700,000 in 2009, according to the American Independent
The Merck Foundation also stopped giving to the
national Boy Scouts organization in recent years.
Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the next Boy
Scouts president, will face the task of smoothing out the
divisions within the organization and restoring the tarnished
As defense secretary, Gates supported President Barack
Obama's withdrawal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that
prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
While a Boy Scout, Gates achieved the highest honor of Eagle
Scout. He is due to begin his two-year term in May 2014.