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American Family Association Calls For Boycott of Jean Maker

May 19, 1992

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ An anti-pornography group is calling for a national boycott of Levi Strauss & Co., accusing the jeans-maker of punishing the Boy Scouts for excluding homosexuals.

″The fact that they would penalize the Boy Scouts for refusing to accept openly practicing homosexuals as scout masters shows they no longer want the business of a majority of Americans,″ the Rev. Donald Wildmon, a Methodist minister who heads the American Family Association.

On Friday, Levi Strauss confirmed it will no longer donate to the scouts because of its refusal to admit gay scouts or leaders. Mary Gross, spokeswoman for the San Francisco company, said its donation has ranged from $40,000 to $80,000 a year for five years.

″It’s not that we are discriminating against them″ but because of a policy conflict with the scouts ″we can no longer support them,″ Gross said Monday.

Levi Strauss’ action was the latest reaction to the Boy Scouts of America’s refusal to admit gays and atheists.

Public schools in Berkeley, Calif., last Wednesday barred scouts from using their property. In April, the United Way of the San Francisco Bay area yanked funding, estimated at $1 million a year.

A May 8 ruling in Santa Ana, Calif., ordered a Cub Scout pack to readmit twin 10-year-olds thrown out for refusing to say ″God″ in the scout pledge. In March, a federal judge in Chicago ruled that an 8-year-old Cub Scout who did not believe in God could be kept out of a troop.

Wildmon said The American Family Association will ask religious leaders nationwide who serve on its board to spearhead a boycott among their congregations.

The Tupelo-based association has led protests of companies, television networks and publications, including the 1980s boycott that persuaded some convenience stores to place pornographic magazines out of view.

Blake Lewis, national spokesman for the Boy Scouts in Dallas, said they wouldn’t change their policies.

″Our values are very much in concert with the expectations and the values of mainstream American families as evidenced by more than 5 million youth and adult members of the organization,″ he said.

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