In a historic first, New York-area Boy Scouts will be among the groups leading 14,000 people down Manhattan's 5th Avenue on Sunday at the 44th Annual NYC Pride March, where they will speak out against the Boy Scouts of America's discriminatory ban on gay adults.
Three generations of Boy Scouts -- gay and straight -- will be on hand and in uniform at nation's oldest and largest LGBT Pride event, where they will present the American flag during the national anthem and subsequently serve as Color Guard during the march.
It is unclear what repercussions (if any) will face the Scouts after participating in the march. The BSA has previously stated that wearing the Scouting uniform during a Pride event is a "violation of the Scout Oath and Scout Law." The Greater New York Councils, which serves nearly 150,000 Scouts in New York City, has previously emphasized its commitment to full inclusion of gay Scouts, however.
"NYC Pride warmly welcomes Scouts for Equality to the route as our 2014 NYC Pride March Color Guard," said NYC Pride March Director, Dave Studinski. "Our 2014 theme is 'We Have Won When We're One,' and this message resonates well with Scouts for Equality's mission. From their participation in our step-off ceremony through the moment they pass the historic Stonewall Inn, may the Scout's joint display of our nation's colors and the rainbow flag remind us all that the LGBT movement seeks not tolerance, but acceptance as equals."
“We are grateful for this invitation from NYC Pride, and we are honored and humbled to provide this patriotic service to the LGBT community of New York,” said Stacey Sarnicola, Brooklyn chapter lead, Scouts for Equality. “Since 1978, the BSA has held a policy that excluded gay youth and parents. While the BSA voted last year to end the policy barring gay youth from participation, it has made no change in its membership policy regarding adults. The Greater New York Councils' inclusive policy is what gave me permission to allow my son to join the Boy Scouts. It's what gives us permission to march, and it gives us hope for a BSA for all in the near future."
"For more than a century, Scouting has shaped the leaders of tomorrow, instilling in countless young men the values of honesty, courage, and respect for everyone – values that fly in the face of the BSA's ban on gay adults," said Seth Adam, Director of Communications at GLAAD. "That local Scouts will now be leading one of the world's most iconic LGBT Pride events is a testament to both how far we've come and how far we have left to go in the pursuit of full equality. Until gay and lesbian adults and parents can partake in their own children's lives through Scouting, the Boy Scouts will continue to fall behind a rapidly growing majority of Americans, who agree that no one should be discriminated against because of who they love."
Scouts for Equality invites all regional Scouts, Scouters, alumnus, and families – Cubs, Scouts, Ventures, and Explorers – to join the march on June 29 in their Scout uniforms, supporting the beginning of a fully-inclusive, national BSA.. To sign up, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/746718882037704/.