Gay pride leaders invite Utah's boy scouts to march with them

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Leaders of Salt Lake's Gay Pride Festival are inviting all boy scouts to put on their uniforms and march with them.

The Gay Pride Parade will take place Sunday at 10 A.M.  The Boy Scouts of America has already advised members not to make political statements.  Some scouting enthusiasts say they refuse to listen because this issue hits too close to home.

"I’m here because I love some people who are gay. They happen to be my relatives.  One specifically, is my identical twin brother,” said Geoffrey McGrath, a banned scoutmaster. 

The BSA changed his life.  McGrath grew up loving the program and still does, but he says he loves his brother more.

"I’m here because Boy Scouts of America should've been there for him," McGrath said.

McGrath's identical twin came out of the closet just before graduating from college.  The former scoutmaster says he was shocked to learn just how misunderstood his twin actually felt.

"When he left for his LDS mission to Argentina, and we cleaned out his bedroom—he left 3 weeks before I did—we found 18 suicide notes," he said.  

McGrath and a small group of scouts made their way through down-town Salt Lake at last year's parade.  This time around, the group plans to carry their emblem of pride, along with the American flag. 

"It's the first time that a duly constituted color guard with uniformed scouts and uniformed scouting alumni will be carrying a rainbow flag," McGrath explained.

The former scoutmaster has invited all of Utah's scouts to march alongside his group, Old Scouts Promise Grassroots.

ABC 4 Utah reached out to Utah's executive scouts for their response to the invitation but did not receive a response.  In the past, Rick Barnes, Executive Scout for the Great Salt Lake Council has made the following statement: 

"We do not, as boy scouts, show support for any social or political position. We're neutral. If [scouts] want to attend the parade, they're welcome to do so as private citizens wearing whatever they want except their uniform." 

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