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Mike Long

County Closes Bank Account to Protest Handling of Boy Scouts

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Wow, have any of you seen this?

 

Foxnews.com

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,48963,00.html

 

County Closes Bank Account to Protest Handling of Boy Scouts

 

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

 

 

AUBURN, N.Y. The Cayuga County legislature decided to close its $3.8 million account with HSBC Bank USA after the company shut its doors to local Boy Scout meetings because of the group's ban on gay leaders.

 

 

The county council voted 14-1 Tuesday night without dispute to withdraw its money from the bank.

 

"I hope it sends a message to the bank that if they want to fight with the national Boy Scout organization, go right ahead and do it. But they should not just single out the local group and discriminate against them," said county lawmaker Herbert Marshall.

 

"Our local Boy Scout group is an asset to the community," he said.

 

Earlier this month, bank officials told the local Boy Scouts chapter that it could no longer use the building as a meeting place after June 30 because the national organization's policy of excluding gay leaders conflicts with the company's commitment to diversity.

 

HSBC spokesman Kathleen Rizzo Young said Wednesday that the bank did not intend to change its position. She declined any further comment about the county's action, citing the bank's policy on customer confidentiality.

 

Young also stressed that HSBC has "a strong presence of community involvement and support" in the communities where it operates. "This has gotten a lot of attention ... but there is a bigger picture," she said.

 

The local council, with approximately 2,000 Scouts, has rented a 1,200-square-foot space in the bank on a month-to-month basis since 1993. It uses the space for administrative offices, a retail supply store and training room in the bank, Marshall said.

 

Cayuga lawmakers acknowledged that their protest action was purely symbolic and would have no financial impact on the corporation.

 

HSBC Bank USA, based in Buffalo, is the countrys 11th largest holding company with $87.6 billion in assets. It has 420 branches in New York as well as 13 other branches in Florida, Pennsylvania and California and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the London-based HSBC Holdings, with 6,500 offices in 78 countries.

 

Young said she was not aware of any other similar situations involving the bank.

 

"We are rarely in the landlord business. Most of our buildings do not have rentable space," she said.

 

Since the bank's decision, at least two Auburn churches and the Town of Throop also have pulled their money totaling about $752,000 from HSBC.

 

On Thursday, Auburn city lawmakers will consider a similar move, but Mayor Melina Carnicelli said she would vote against such action. The city has between $5 million and $10 million in HSBC.

 

She called it "blatantly inappropriate" for "two business reasons." First, she sees the situation as a landlord-tenant dispute. More importantly, she said the city should not arbitrarily decide to withdraw millions of dollars without studying the financial ramifications for the city and its taxpayers.

 

The groundswell of local support has been overwhelming, said Don Grillo, the local council's executive director.

 

"We're not going to put them out of business, but I think people have felt very strongly to show their concern for the well-being of Scouting," Grillo said.

 

Gregg Shields, a spokesman for the National Council of the Boys Scouts of America, said similar situations involving the Scouts' policy have come up "here and there, now and then but by and large it has not been much of an issue."

 

Last year, Syracuse University told the Hiawatha Council that it could no longer hold its annual fund-raising dinner in the Carrier Dome. The dinner, which had been held in the Dome since 1984, features national prominent speakers and is attended by more than 2,000 Scouts.

 

Shields said only a few of the Scouts' 315 local councils do not own their own building. He said he thought it would be easy for the Cayuga council to find new accommodations, adding that Scouts do not plan to alter their stance.

 

"We will hold to our mission, which is to help young people build character and make ethical choices throughout their lives," Shields said.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

 

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Sounds like the bank was attempting to be "politically correct", but wound up looking politically stupid.

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This is similar to what happened in California a while back. Various companies pulled their funding from the BSA & once they realized this would effect their cash flow, they backed off. The only one who didn't was Levi. To this day, I won't buy any Levi brand. Not even 2nd hand.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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If the bank is renting space, they would be legally required to rent to all comers. Are there not laws about discrimination against tenants?

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I asked several times for a list of charities, companies and what have you, that have pulled funding over the athiest or gay debate. I feel National should let us know who these people are so we can show them our opinion by not buying their product. The civil rights movement got noticed after a bus boycot, aparthied fell to ecnomics. Gandi liberated India through economic resistance "Don't work, Don't buy"

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The phrase "throwing the baby out with the bath water" keeps coming to mind.

(meaning the bank through the baby out with the bath water)

 

 

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After reading this thread, I have a wonderful idea. If a few companies and governments who don't like the BSA cut all ties to it including use of meeting space and funding; and then everybody who supports the BSA policy boycotts those companies and governments; and mix in a boycott of any company that gives benefits to gay couples, like some churches did a few years ago when they targeted Disney; and then those who oppose anti-gay discrimination start boycotting the boycotters; and then the boycotters boycot the boycotters of the boycotters... wow, we could end up with two totally separate economies in this country, based entirely on how one feels about the sexual orientation of about 5 percent of the population.

 

Right? Isn't that how we deal with things in this country? To completely separate ourselves with all people who disagree with us on anything. I mean, who needs a united country (in time of war) when it means we have to deal with people who don't share our opinions on everything?

 

Now, if you haven't figured it out yet, I don't believe in economic warfare, on either side, as a solution to this problem. I don't like to see companies and governments and United Ways cutting ties with Scout councils and units -- and then the BSA has to go into court, when applicable, to enforce their First Amendment rights against any government attempts to enforce their own anti-discrimination policies. Where does it all end?

 

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I tried to edit my post, but, well, you know...

 

I'll answer my own question: Where does it all end? It all ends with a compromise, or not at all.

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"An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth soon we are all blind and toothless." Tevia from Fidler on the Roof.

 

The compromise may be how a council defines avowed.

 

Paul

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NJCub Scouter,

You ask "Who needs a united country(in time of war)" Do I take that to mean you support our response to 9/11/01? Stand up to terrorist as long as peopled died first but if the terorist is only trying to hurt you financally turn the other cheek. Don't stand up for your right to choose who you associate with is some one may be offended. See page 53 of the Handbook, read the part about being brave.

Compromise? What would your feelings be if President Bush announced that the United States would be willing to agree to a compromise with those responsible for 9/11/01. No retaliation not criminal trials "Let's sit down and talk this out." A couple of thousand dead could lead to some meaninful discussion.

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LongHaul,

 

You hit the nail on the head. So many idealists want peace, which is not bad. However, they are willing to go to such extremes to get it that it becomes dangerous. I can just imagine what would've happened if this attitude would have prevailed during World War II. We would be "peacefully negotiating" with Adolf Hitler and telling him why he shouldn't annihilate over 10 million people. Idealism, though admirable, is not often practical.

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