A Scoutmaster and His Son Bring Pizza to Same-Sex Couples Marrying in Utah

An Eagle Scout and his father make the long wait for marriage equality a little more palatable.

Michael and Peter Brownstein hand out pizza to families waiting at the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office. (Photo: @MattLyonSLC/Twitter)

Dec 28, 2013· 1 MIN READ
A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades has previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and a medical writer.

The Boy Scouts of America historically has been at odds with the LGBT community, but that didn't stop one Eagle Scout and his dad from showing their support for same-sex couples marrying in Utah. And they did it with cheese and pepperoni pizza.

Peter Brownstein, a former scoutmaster, and his 14-year-old Eagle Scout son, Michael, showed up in uniform to the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office on Monday, bearing 10 large pizzas, slices of which they freely handed out to the dozens of same-sex couples waiting in line for marriage licenses.

Since a district judge struck down Utah's ban on gay marriage last week, the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office had been flooded with couples hoping to wed. They stood in long lines that at times extended outside for blocks. Mayor Ralph Becker called it "a thrilling pandemonium."

Thrilling though it may be, it's also an incredibly long wait, especially for families with children in tow.

Explaining his gesture, Brownstein told CNN, "I would say that it's meant to show what true Scouting values are—of thinking of others and helping others and not being selective about who you are helping."

How long this marriage rush can last is up for debate. Utah officials opposed to marriage equality plan to take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court to ask for a halt to same-sex marriages in the state until they can exhaust their legal appeals.

Brownstein has been an outspoken supporter of equal rights. While a scoutmaster for the recently disbanded Troop 351, he appeared in uniform at a gay pride festival last June—a move he said was meant to show support for cultural diversity. Not everybody appreciated the sentiment, however, and what followed shortly after was a letter from Boy Scouts of America's executive members, who wrote, "We are very disappointed that you used Scouting to advance the gay agenda."

The Boy Scouts of America made headlines earlier this year when it voted to lift its controversial ban on gay Boy Scouts but continued to prohibit gay scoutmasters. Some called it a step in the right direction for the historically conservative organization, while others criticized the move for continuing a culture of discrimination.

Brownstein and his son seem unfazed by any consequences they may face for supporting marriage equality while in uniform. Michael Brownstein told CNN, "I see it as simply providing a service," while his father said he would do it all again "in a heartbeat."