The Boy Scouts of America's position on homosexuality is well-known.

Despite criticism, the organization has long barred gay adult leaders and Scouts, a policy it recently upheld after a two-year review.

Even if one thinks such discrimination is wrong, the fact remains it's the Boy Scouts' right as a private organization to decide whom it admits to its ranks.

The U.S. Supreme Court settled the matter when it sided with the Boy Scouts in a 2000 case, ruling it can't be forced to accept someone whose conduct is "inconsistent" with its values.

So be it.

But the Boy Scouts shouldn't complain now that the shoe appears to be on the other foot.

The United Way of York County was scheduled to meet this week with officials from the York-area Boy Scouts of America -- New Birth of Freedom Council for an "information gathering" session about the Scout's anti-gay stance.

Bob Woods, executive director of the York United Way chapter, wouldn't say what might result from the meeting, but several of the charity's chapters across the country have pulled contributions to the Scouts in light of the July announcement reaffirming its policy.

One of those was the United Way of the Capital Region, which covers the Harrisburg area. It voted to suspend its partnership with the New Birth of Freedom Council starting Jan. 1 until it repeals the gay ban.

Why?


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Well, just as the Scouts have a right to discriminate against those who don't conform to its beliefs, the United Way is under no obligation to support those who don't live up to its values.

And the United Way has a policy against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The local council -- which covers about 11,400 Scouts in York, Dauphin, Cumberland, Franklin, Perry and Adams counties -- stands to lose a large amount of money if the United Way of York follows the other chapters' lead.

Last year the charity's community fund contributed about $165,000 to the local Boy Scouts, while a separate fund, through which employees designated their donations to go directly to the local Scouts, totaled about $86,000.

In areas where partnerships are not renewed, the Boy Scouts could keep only the designated funds and would not be eligible for community funds.

The Boy Scouts of America has been teaching boys admirable values for more than 100 years, and it would be a shame if the organization's efforts were hampered because of a policy that's increasingly seen as out of step with the mainstream.

Even the U.S. military recently dropped its "don't ask, don't tell" position, allowing gays and lesbians to openly and proudly serve their country.

We doubt very much the United Way relishes the thought of severing ties with the Scouts over this, but the charity has chosen a path of inclusion.

The Scouts have chosen a different trail for what looks to be a lonely hike.