The United Way of the Bay Area carried through its threat Wednesday and cut off future general funds to the Boy Scouts of America because of the group's ban on gay Scouts and troop leaders.

However, the umbrella fund-raising group said it would continue to allow contributors to earmark funds for the Scouts under its Donor Choice plan. Last year, the United Way raised more than $57 million, of which the Boy Scouts received $849,000 in allocations and $326,000 in Donor Choice funds."The United Way regrets that the six local Boy Scout councils will no longer participate as funded members of the United Way based on current limitations imposed by their national charter," said Charles Lynch, local United Way chief.

Blake Lewis, a spokesman at Scout national headquarters in Irving, Texas, said the local Scouts would look for funding elsewhere.

"We will go out and obtain the funding necessary to continue a program for the young people of the Bay Area," Lewis said.

The feud between the two agencies boiled over in January when United Way warned that the Boy Scout councils of San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa and San Mateo counties risked losing their funding if they did not open their membership to all children.

Despite the fact that individual Scout groups in the San Francisco area have been critical of the ban, United Way said it could no longer fund them because of the agency's anti-discrimination bylaws.