Merk suspends support of Boy Scouts over anti-gay policy

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The pharmaceutical giant Merck, maker of the popular anti-HIV drug Isentress, has decided to suspend donations to the Boy Scouts of America over the group’s anti-gay policies.

Brian Gill, who heads the company’s charitable foundation, said the BSA’s ban on gay Scouts members, staff and leaders violates the company’s own nondiscrimination guidelines. He said The Merck Foundation honors and supports a policy of diversity and inclusion in all its funding decisions.

The decision to suspend support applies to direct funding from the foundation, the matching of gifts from Merck employees, and paid time off for volunteering.

“The foundation has supported the BSA for many years and we continue to herald the fine work that the BSA has done in communities throughout the country. We know that many of you have personally contributed to the BSA and that this decision may be upsetting to some of you. However, we cannot continue to provide support to an organization with a policy that is contrary to one of our core beliefs. We remain ready and willing to re-consider our funding position in the event that the BSA were to revise its policy,” Gill said in a statement.

Gill also said Merck will assess its other giving to ensure that no other charitable recipients have similar conflicting policies. The company had given $30,000 to Boy Scout entities in 2011.

Intel and UPS also recently announced they would cease to support the BSA.