Following the Boy Scouts of America's historic vote in May, Boy Scouts and adult volunteers in Salt Lake City chose to wear their uniforms on Sunday as they marched in Utah's gay pride parade. They did this in defiance of the organizations guidlines, which state that the Boy Scouts prohibit advocating political or social positions.
"It just feels like the right thing to do," Kenji Mikesell, an 18-year-old Eagle Scout and high school senior still active with his troop, said to NBC News. "It's kind of a way of saying we want you here.” added Mikesell, “Scouting has been a very positive influence in my life, and I'd like to see more people take advantage of it now that the ban has been lifted.”
The Scouts and volunteers who chose to support the LGBT community on Sunday were doing so despite the Boy Scouts prohibiting any political or social positions.
NBC News reports spoke to Rick Barnes, a chief scout executive of the Great Salt Lake Council. "We as Scouting movement do not advocate any social or political position, so I reminded Mr. Brownstein that we do not wear uniforms at an event like this," said Barnes. "We do not, as Boy Scouts, show support for any social or political position. We're neutral. If he wants to attend the parade and others do that are Scouts or Scouters, they're welcome to do so as private citizens wearing whatever they want except their uniform. That's our official position. It always has been, there's nothing new here," he added. "We just don't want people to use the Boy Scouts to advocate their positions."
Fox13 News reports that The Great Salt Lake Council will not take action against those who marched in the parade.
Video of the Scouts at the event is available below:
GLAAD first started calls for the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on gay scouts and scout leaders in April 2012 after Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom and den leader from Ohio was removed from her 7-year-old’s Cub Scout Pack for being gay. Tyrrell’s orginal Change.org petition has attracted more than 343,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and leaders. Tyrrell, together with GLAAD, has launched a new petition to urge the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to completely lift its anti-gay ban on both youth members and adult employees and volunteers. To take action on this issue please visit www.glaad.org/denmother. For more on GLAAD's work on this campaign, including a timeline of key events, visit www.glaad.org/scouts.