SAN FRANCISCO, July 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Weeks after their male counterparts stoked controversy by changing their rules to allow openly gay members, Girl Scouts USA made history in their own way after some 90+ of their members and their families marched in San Francisco’s recent Gay Pride Parade - the first time they have ever done so.
Girl Scouts of Northern California announced their participation in the parade in a post on their official Facebook page, accompanied by a photo of the girls in uniform carrying a Girl Scouts banner.
"I want them to be able to tell their children they were a part of this," mom Del Gregor, 53, who was at the parade with her 11-year-old Girl Scout daughter, told USA Today. "By the time they're grown up, their kids won't believe there was a time when gay people couldn't get married."
Another mom, also present with her 11-year-old daughter, described the occasion as “historic."
Dana Allen, communications manager for Girl Scouts of Northern California, confirmed to LifeSiteNews.com that San Francisco Girl Scouts participated in the parade.
"The San Francisco Girl Scouts participate in many parades that celebrate the diversity of San Francisco," she said. "Girl Scouts is inclusive and reflects the communities we serve."
However, not all were pleased with the decision to march in the parade. Seventeen-year-old Sydney Volanski, an ex-Girl Scout and founder of SpeakNowGirlScouts.com, has been a vocal critic of what she says is Girl Scouts' increasingly socially liberal tendencies. She told LifeSiteNews that she believes "there exists an intriguing discrepancy here between what the Girl Scouts say and what they do."
"GSUSA has promised they have 'established standards that do not permit the advocacy or promotion of a personal lifestyle or sexual orientation,'" she said, "yet here is undeniable participation in an advocacy campaign. Unfortunately, this is not their first broken promise."
Sydney's mother, Christy Volanski, also expressed concerns about what the young Girl Scouts may have been exposed to at the parade.
She said that given the Girl Scouts pledge to "build girls of courage, confidence and character," she was "really surprised" that the organization would endorse participation in an event "that features vulgar male dancers dressed only in underwear, a lesbian statue of liberty (courtesy of the ACLU float), free condoms, and more."
"As a mom, I'm very concerned that the Girl Scouts feel this is an appropriate event for any age. And further, what does all of this have to do with scouting?" she said.
However, Girl Scouts spokeperson Allen dismissed any concerns about age-appropriateness, pointing out that the parade includes a section for youth and family, and that parents were required to sign permission slips for participation.
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The decision to march in the parade came days after the United States Supreme Court dismissed an appeal against a lower court ruling that struck down California’s Proposition 8, the voter-approved amendment that had upheld traditional marriage in the state. In the wake of the decision gay marriages have already resumed taking place.
Asked if Girl Scouts supports gay marriage, Allen responded, "Because Girl Scouts is a very diverse organization, we also respect the many points of view on political and social issues."
This is not the first indication that Girl Scouts favors a more liberal take on gay issues. Their policies have long stated that they value "diversity and inclusiveness" and do not discriminate against "sexual orientation."
In 2011 the Girl Scouts announced that they would allow a cross-dressing seven-year-old boy to join the Girl Scouts.
The scouting organization has come under heavy fire in recent years from conservative leaders for its close ties to Planned Parenthood and other left-leaning organizations.
In 2004 GSUSA’s then-CEO Kathy Cloninger told NBC’s Today show, “We partner with many organizations. We have relationships with our church communities, with YWCAs, and with Planned Parenthood organizations across the country, to bring information-based sex education programs to girls.”
In a 2004 survey by STOPP International, around 25 percent of GSUSA councils who responded said they partnered with Planned Parenthood in some way. Sixty-five out of the country’s 249 councils responded to the survey.
But while Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) has disputed claims that it has ties to Planned Parenthood, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), with which GSUSA is affiliated, has taken an aggressive stand in favour of “safe” abortions, as can be gleaned from a search of their website.
In 2010, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) reported that WAGGGS had girls participate in a United Nations workshop that distributed the controversial Planned Parenthood sex education pamphlet “Happy, Healthy, and Hot”, which instructs young girls not to think of sex as “just about vaginal or anal intercourse.” WAGGGS disputed the report at the time.
Last June, Catholic Bishop James Conley of Denver warned that participation in the Girl Scouts risks opening young women to the pro-abortion agenda because of the organization’s approach to sexuality and “reproductive freedom.”