The Boy Scouts of America National Council may have voted to tolerate gay youth after caving to pressure from every sane person on Earth, but a handful of crusty leaders are still trying to stifle young gays serving in the organization. Don’t worry, though. These kids are starting to fight back.
A group of boy scouts and adult volunteers led by 18-year-old Eagle Scout Kenji Mikesell proudly marched in Salt Lake City’s gay pride parade last weekend, ignoring orders from a higher official that told them it was prohibited. The group marched hand-in-hand with Mormons Building Bridges, a local organization that “conveys love and acceptance for LGBT individuals.” In case you hadn’t heard, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is totally cool with gays in the Boy Scouts.
“It just feels like the right thing to do,” Mikesell told NBC News. “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 brave 18-year-old also says he wasn’t afraid of any consequences. Rick Barnes, chief scout executive of the Great Salt Lake Council and the man who issued the original ban against marching in uniform, expected the troop to comply. Now that Barnes’ rule has been broken, Deron Smith, a spokesman at the national headquarters Boy Scouts of America, says punishment is to be determined by the local council.
“These individuals stated a personal opinion and do not represent Scouting,” said Smith. “Scouting teaches young people that often in life one finds rules they don’t agree with, but a Scout is to be obedient. To simply disobey a rule because you disagree with it is not an example to set for youth. It is up to each council to determine how best to hold their leaders to the standards of Scouting. We will support the Greater Salt Lake Area Council as they determine the appropriate response.”
No further action has been taken as of yet, but we hope Mikesell’s decision inspires Boy Scouts troops across America to unite and march in celebrations everywhere this June. Isn’t fighting for equality what Gay Pride is all about, anyway?