Defending the family

Evidence Shows County Falsely Denied Scout Policy

Rockville, MD - Public Advocate of the United States, a pro-family group based in Northern Virginia, has presented evidence that the reason for Montgomery County's recent decision to begin charging Scouts for meeting space was a direct result of the youth organization's moral leadership criteria, something continuously denied by county officials. The evidence came in the form of minutes from the county's Interagency Coordinating Board's October 3, 2000 meeting where the new fees were approved. They were presented as part of an official complaint to the U.S. Department of Education, along with Valentine's Day chocolates, that was delivered to Genny Gong, the Board's Executive Director, and a representative of County Executive Douglas Duncan on Thursday morning.

An excerpt of the minutes read: "For years, the Boy Scouts have enjoyed free use of classrooms in schools. However, Boy Scouts of America has recently taken a position on the exclusion of gays from leadership positions within the organization. Funding support (corporations and foundations, United Way) for Boys Scouts [sic] are being reduced or withdrawn. School systems across the nation are reconsidering the organization's use in schools [sic]."

This "smoking gun" could lead to Montgomery County being striped of their $40 Million federal education funding if they continue to refuse to revert to their long-standing previous policy of letting Scouts use the facilities without the new fees. The possible de-funding of the schools would be a result of a provision of the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act signed into law last month as part of the Education Bill. If the county is found in violation of the new law, the Secretary of Education must withhold all federal funding of education in the jurisdiction.

"It is time that these serial scout harassers do what is in the best interest of the children of Montgomery County, not what is in the best interest of their extreme political beliefs," stated Public Advocate Executive Director Eugene Delgaudio. "It is unfortunate that Montgomery County officials insist on making a federal issue of this instead of simply obeying the law and being honest with their constituents."

The official complaint, the minutes, and the new law is available upon request from Public Advocate.

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