Despite Warnings, Gay Boy Scouts March in Salt Lake Pride
Defying orders from the chief scouting executive for the Great Salt Lake Scouts Council, gay Boy Scouts and alums wore their uniforms while marching in Salt Lake City's Pride Parade Sunday, reports NBC News.
On Saturday, the chief scouting executive warned Utah Boy Scouts that they would face repercussions if they wore their uniforms in the parade, citing the organization's policy to "not advocate any social or political position." The executive was not clear about the consequences those who wore uniforms would face.
But Kenji Mikesell, an 18-year-old Eagle Scout, followed through on his plan to wear his Eagle Scout uniform in the parade.
"It just feels like the right thing to do," Mikesell told NBC. "It's kind of a way of saying we want you here. Scouting has been a very positive influence in my life, and I'd like to to see more people take advantage of it now that the ban has been lifted."
In May, the Boy Scouts of America rescinded its long-standing ban on "open or avowed homosexuals" within its ranks, although the organization continues to bar gay or lesbian adults from serving as scouts or leaders.
Mikesell, whose troop is sponsored by a local Mormon church, was joined by a small group of uniformed Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and former scouts marching with a pro-LGBT group from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called Mormons Building Bridges. More than 300 Mormons marched with the group, which received thunderous applause from bystanders along the parade route, according to Utah's Deseret News.