Eagle Scout Kenji Mikesell led a group of Boy Scouts in uniform at Salt Lake City’s Pride march on Sunday, defying the orders of the city’s BSA Council.
Mikesell, aged 18, was joined by several other Scouts and adult volunteers who were publicly warned in advance not to wear BSA uniforms at the event. This warning came despite the organization’s vote to allow gay youth on May 23.
“It just feels like the right thing to do. 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,” Mikesell told NBC.
The BSA National Headquarters responded by saying the group’s participation was a “personal opinion” and that the organization remained neutral. As of yet, no punishment has been announced.
The BSA’s revised scouting policy still bans gay Scout leaders, and gay youth can no longer be active in the organization once they turn 18.
The decision to even allow the involvement of gay youth has been met with resistance in parts of the country. Last week, churches in Alabama that previously provided space for troop meetings rescinded their offer, requiring that the Boy Scouts go elsewhere.
Two of those, the Gravel Ridge Baptist Church and the First Baptist Church of Helena, said that they could not endorse a group that rejects the Bible’s teaching on same-sex marriage.
Other religious institutions have come out in support of the ban’s repeal. Read more about it here.