Scouts Canada reaffirms inclusion of gay members and invites Carly Rae Jepsen to jamboree

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Scouting organisation Scouts Canada, has reaffirmed its inclusive policy for gay members, volunteers and staff, and invited Carly Rae Jepsen to perform at its jamboree, since she turned down the Boy Scouts of America’s gig for its anti-gay policy.

Yesterday, singer Carly Rae Jepsen answered calls to pull out of a performance at a Boy Scouts of America jamboree because of its anti-gay policy, and said she will not perform because she believes in equality.

The Call Me Maybe singer Tweeted on Tuesday: “As an artist who believes in equality for all people, I will not be participating in the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this summer.”

San Francisco band, Train, also responded to say they will only appear in the jamboree if the Boy Scouts of America lifted its ban. In a statement they said: “Train strongly opposes any kind of policy that questions the equality of any American citizen… We have always seen the BSA as a great and noble organisation.”

BSA director of publicity Deron Smith said the organisation appreciates “everyone’s right to express an opinion” and will remain focussed on putting on its jamboree, reports the Vancouver Sun.

The national Boy Scouts of Americas board previously postponed from making a decision, but is meeting in May, and is expected to decide on the policy then. It is considering lifting its national ban on allowing gay volunteers, members and staff, which would effectively allow individual scout troops to decide on whether to be inclusive or not.

A rally recently delivered a petition with 1.4 million signatures pushing for the Boy Scouts of America to drop its ban. 

The co-ed Scouts Canada, however, which is totally separate from the BSA, notes that it “does not discriminate for reasons of gender, culture, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.”

Scouts Canada’s social justice and diversity policy reaffirmed its stance on the issue of discrimination in 2001, said national youth commissioner Kaylee Galipeau.

She did not address a question of whether she was concerned that people might link the two organisations, but said that Scouts Canada would remain “open and inclusive and always have been.”

“We accept boys and girls, we accept LGBT members, we accept people of all faiths,” she said.

“It’s really just been an opportunity for us to remind people that we’re still here, we’re vibrant in Canada, we’re growing and we are open to everyone.”

Scouts Canada will host its jamboree from 6-13 July, and regularly have musical acts and performers for the event. Galipeau extended an invitation to Jepsen and the band Train, saying they would both be welcome to perform.

“We’re proud to be hosting it here in Alberta and as a manager of special events for the jamboree, I’d just like to throw in there that we’d be totally welcome to having Train and Carly Rae come and play at our jamboree if they would so like to.”

Last August, Train released a statement saying they were “upset” that their song “Marry Me” was used on a New Zealand website set up in opposition to gay marriage.