The Girl Scouts' Inauguration March Is Causing a Major Controversy

January 18th 2017

Lucy Tiven

In yet another example of the societal divisions exposed by the election of Donald Trump, The Girl Scouts of the USA's plan to march at the president-elect's inaugural parade has become the subject of controversy.

The group's participation in Friday's ceremony, announced Tuesday, sparked outrage among women on social media.

Critics said the Girl Scouts' participation essentially served as an endorsement of Trump's comments about women and the sexual harassment and assault allegations levied against him. Trump has repeatedly denied these allegations since they surfaced in October.

Reporter Sarah Kendzior tweeted to the Girl Scouts, asking them to reconsider their participation in the march, arguing that Trump does not "honor your values."

The Girl Scouts defended their decision in a statement to NBC News and on their website Wednesday.

"At Girl Scouts, our movement is made up of individuals who hold political beliefs and convictions as varied as our nation itself," the group asserts. "And because every girl has a home at Girl Scouts, every girl in our movement is allowed her own ideas, opinions, beliefs and political ideology." The group said it remains committed to empowering young women to be "advocates for the issues and ideas important to them" and to "become catalysts for change who strengthen their communities."

"Of course, we are a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that by law cannot take positions on political candidates or parties — and we take this very seriously," the statement adds. "Advocating for change on issues one cares about isn't at odds with participating in a century-long tradition that represents the peaceful exchange of power."

The Girl Scouts will also participate in the Women's March on Washington the following day, the statement says.