• Source: Facebook
  • Boy Scouts To Lead New York Pride Parade

    For the first time in its 44-year history, the New York City Pride March will be led by openly gay Boy Scouts. 

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    The annual New York City Pride parade will be held Sunday, and leading the revelers, for the first time ever, will be a contingent of Boy Scouts in uniform. These active scouts will be joined by members of the Brooklyn chapter of Scouts For Equality, a group comprised of former scouts both gay and straight, who advocate for equality within the organization.

    Stacey Sarnicola, Scouts for Equality, Brooklyn Chapter:

    "We are grateful for this invitation from New York City Pride, and we are honored and humbled to provide this patriotic service to the LGBT community of New York."

    Joining the boys will be David Knapp, an 87-year-old former scoutmaster who was forced out of the Scouts in 1993 after 55 years when he was outed, and Peter Brownstein, the former Salt Lake City Scoutmaster, who was drummed out of the Boy Scouts for the unforgivable crime of bringing pizzas to same-sex couples waiting to marry during Utah's short lived "marriage window".

    Boy Scouts will present the American flag during the opening ceremonies and march as a traditional color guard leading the parade of more than 14,000 participants. 

    Seth Adam, Director of Communications for 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."

    This is the first year scouts are allowed to participate in LGBT community events, or for that matter, to admit to being gay. Unfortunately as a national organization, the Boy Scouts still does not permit gay leaders, nor gay scouts over eighteen. In contrast, the Greater New York Council, which presides over more than 150,000 scouts, is dedicated to full equality calling it:

    "The right, moral, forward-looking policy for the BSA nationwide." 

    In fact, long before the national BSA allowed gay scouts, they were welcomed by the Greater New York Councils, which posts its nondiscrimination policy on its website:

    "The Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America is in business to help all children in the five boroughs of New York City. As the most diverse youth organization in the most diverse community in the country, we are committed to this mission and we oppose any form of unlawful discrimination. All of our members repeatedly pledge to respect all people and defend the rights of others. Prejudice, intolerance and unlawful discrimination in any form are unacceptable within the ranks of the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America."

    Stacey Sarnicola, Scouts for Equality, Brooklyn Chapter:

    "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."

    The first New York Pride Parade was held in 1970 to mark the one year anniversary of the Stonewall riots, and in the years since, it has become the centerpiece of New York City’s Pride celebration and one of the best known Pride Marches in the world.

    This year's parade begins at noon Sunday, June 29 at 36th Street at Fifth Avenue.

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