In historic first, New York-area Boy Scouts to lead iconic NYC Pride March

Mon. June 23, 2014 2:18 PM

photo credit // glaad

Three generations of Scouts to unite at nation's oldest and largest LGBT pride event

New York, NY - In a historic first, New York-area Boy Scouts and members of the Brooklyn Chapter of Scouts for Equality, an organization composed largely of Boy Scouts of America (BSA) alumni dedicated to ending the BSA's ban on gay members and leaders, will be among the groups leading the 44th Annual NYC Pride March, the nation's oldest and largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride event.

Active and former Boy Scouts and leaders will present the American flag during the national anthem at the NYC Pride March opening ceremony and subsequently serve as Color Guard during the march, leading more than 14,000 participants down Fifth Avenue in a celebration of recent advancements made for LGBT equality.

Despite the BSA's national policy that bans gay and lesbian adults from participating in Scouting, the Greater New York Councils, which serves nearly 150,000 Scouts in New York City, has previously stated its '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."

Since 1978, the BSA has held a policy that excluded gay youth and parents from participating in the program. On May 23rd, 2013, more than 1,200 members of the BSA National Council voted to end the organization's policy barring gay youth from participation. Gay and lesbian leaders are still barred from participating.

From a news release