gay_boy_scouts_to_lead_new_york_pride_paradeIn a historic first, Boy Scouts will lead the 44th annual New York City Pride March on Sunday, speaking out against the ban on openly gay Scout leaders.

According to GLAAD, three generations of gay Boy Scouts and Scout leaders, along with their straight scouting allies, will present the American flag during the national anthem at the opening ceremony.

They’ll then lead more than 14,000 participants down the city’s Fifth Avenue during the march.

“From their participation in our step-off ceremony through the moment they pass the historic Stonewall Inn, may the Scout’s joint display of our nation’s colours and the rainbow flag remind us all that the LGBT movement seeks not tolerance, but acceptance as equals,” said NYC Pride March Director, Dave Studinski.

Among those participating will be 87-year-old David Knapp, one of the most respected advocates for equality in scouting, who was forced out of the BSA in 1993 after 55 years of service when it was discovered that he is gay.

The BSA previously barred Boys Scouts from appearing at pride events in uniform, but organisers have urged the participants to defiantly wear their uniforms during the march. It remains unclear how the BSA will react and what repercussions the scouting participants may face as a result.

Earlier this year, the BSA allowed gay youth to become Scouts for the first time in 103 years. However, it refused to end its ban on openly gay Scout leaders. In April it stripped a Seattle church of its license to host a Scout group because the church refused to fire an openly gay scoutmaster.

America’s Attorney General Eric Holder recently criticised the BSA’s refusal to allow openly gay Scout leaders as perpetuating “the worst kind of stereotypes.”

Because the BSA is a private organisation, the US courts have upheld its right to apply membership restrictions, even if these are discriminatory.

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