Post submitted by David McCabe, HRC Digital Media Intern
Boy Scouts of America regional officials have condemned two Utah Scout leaders for marching in a pride parade in uniform, ABC News reported. Prior to the parade, Peter Brownstein and Neil Whitaker were instructed not to wear their uniforms to the parade, which the officials said would violate the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) policy against participation in political events.
“We were very disappointed that you used Scouting to advance the gay agenda at the Utah Pride Parade,” officials from the Great Salt Lake Council of the Boy Scouts of America said in a letter to the leaders. The two leaders marched with other Scouting-affiliated individuals in the parade’s color guard. Brownstein did not wear his uniform, though Council officials were under the impression that he had.
The BSA recently lifted their ban on openly gay scouts, but kept in place a prohibition on openly gay adult leaders within the organization.
The two leaders have refused to sign a letter of apology to their local council, and may face expulsion from the organization if they commit a future “offense.” In the process, they have countered that the parade was not a political event, but rather a cultural celebration of the experiences of LGBT Utahans.
“The essence of the (Pride) parade, widely considered a cultural celebration much like the Days of ’47 Parade, promotes acceptance of cultural diversity,” Brownstein wrote in response to the official’s letter, making reference to a parade that celebrates the pioneers who were at the core of Utah’s founding.