A group of boy scouts and adult volunteers in scouting have not ruled out marching in uniform in the upcoming Utah Pride Parade despite a senior scouting official warning that they will be in breach of the organization’s rules.
Local Scoutmaster Peter Brownstein had been organizing a group of Scouts for Equality to march in the June 2 parade to mark the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow openly gay teens into scouting – although the ban on openly gay adults volunteering with the organization remains.
However chief scout executive of the Great Salt Lake Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Rick Barnes, warned Friday that if the group marched in their uniforms they would be breaching the rules.
‘We as a 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,’ Barnes told NBC news.
‘We do not, as Boy Scouts, show support for any social or political position. We’re neutral.’
Barnes said the group were free to march in the parade so long as they did not march in uniform.
‘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,’ Barnes said.
‘That’s our official position. It always has been, there’s nothing new here.’
However despite Barnes’ warning, Brownstein and at least one other marcher are still leaning towards marching in uniform.
‘The message we want to send is that Scouting should be open to everyone and it’s a wonderful program and everyone deserves to be included and have the benefits of the program,’ Brownstein told NBC before being warned off by the scouting executive.
18-year-old Eagle Scout Kenji Mikesell was also leaning towards marching in uniform.
‘If at all possible I want to wear my uniform,’ Mikesell told NBC, adding that he hoped it would encourage gay kids to know they were welcome in scouting.
Barnes did not say what consequences there would be for scouts and adult scouting volunteers who decided to march in uniform, only saying, ‘The first point of the Scout law is a Scout is trustworthy – once they’ve been told our policy, we expect them to be a good Scout and be trustworthy.’