10-year old hero Will Phillips to lead Arkansas Pride Parade

Will Phillips will serve as Grand Marshal for the Northwest Arkansas Gay Pride parade in Fayetteville this weekend. Phillips made headlines last year for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance at his school until all Americans had full equality. Last October he asked his parents whether it was against the law not to stand for the pledge. On Monday, Oct. 5, when the other kids in his class stood up to recite the Pledge, he remained sitting down. He did it again the next day, and the next day.

Since then he has traveled the country, accepted awards from gay rights groups and recording PSAs in support of equality.

WATCH Will’s interview with KFSM:

 11/16/2009
10-year old won’t pledge allegiance to a country that discriminates against gay citizens

Brave Will Phillips – an elementary school student – refuses to say the pledge of allegiance in school because of discrimination against gay people:

“I’ve always tried to analyze things because I want to be lawyer,” Will said. “I really don’t feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all.”

After asking his parents whether it was against the law not to stand for the pledge, Will decided to do something. On Monday, Oct. 5, when the other kids in his class stood up to recite the pledge of allegiance, he remained sitting down. He did it again the next day, and the next day. Fellow students have taunted Will and called him names such as “gaywad,” but he doesn’t see his protest ending any time soon.

Phillips appeared on CNN with his father, Jay, to discuss his refusal to say the pledge of allegiance.

“I’ve grown up with a lot of people and I’m good friends with a lot of people who are gay and I think they should have the rights all people should, and I’m not going to swear that they do,” the ten-year-old Phillips said.

Jay Phillips, asked if his son was prepared for the media attention, said his son saw it as an opportunity to raise awareness. “He felt that just because he’s ten years old doesn’t mean he doesn’t have opinions, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have rights, and doesn’t mean he can’t make a difference.”

WATCH:

11 thoughts on “10-year old hero Will Phillips to lead Arkansas Pride Parade

  • November 18, 2009 at 1:10 am
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    Fabulous family, wonderfully sharp young man. Thank you so much for standing up for equal rights for ALL. You are an inspiration!

  • November 18, 2009 at 10:27 pm
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    Terrific to see a young man standing by his beliefs.

  • November 18, 2009 at 10:27 pm
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    I just wanted to say Cheers to Will Phillips! Not only am I thrilled to see that there are still some U.S. citizens who take the pledge of allegiance seriously and take the time to really understand what they are (or are not) pledging, it’s inspiring to see this young man take a stance to support what he believes in. You are extremely brave, Will, and I hope that the positive responses you receive greatly outweigh the negative ones. I was sad to hear that you are subjected to name-calling at school, please understand that there are alot of us out in the world who understand how brave and smart you are and admire your efforts!!! Hopefully you will be part of a growing movement that will help educate those who don’t understand what equality is really all about. Even if people don’t agree with your beliefs, hopefully they will still admire your bravery in standing up for what you believe in. Well done! – Kay from Washington state

  • November 30, 2009 at 6:38 pm
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    One speaking up and standing up does change the World for all.
    ShayWood

  • December 1, 2009 at 12:39 am
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    I was raised by my grandmother and her wife, they need more people like you on their sides!

    Great job!My family supports you!!!

  • December 1, 2009 at 3:57 pm
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    Although I believe that gay people are given the same right as the rest of us-to marry a person of the opposite sex, I also think that it’s good he’s standing up for what he believes in.

  • November 30, 2009 at 7:25 pm
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    Great Job,Thank you for standing up for the rights we all deserve,we are very lucky here in Canada although we still do deal with issues here,and its inspiring to see such a young man stand up for his beliefs.You are an inspiration!

  • December 6, 2009 at 8:52 am
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    I am supporting this kid all the way more people should be like him.

  • November 17, 2009 at 8:54 pm
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    One person’s courage can change an entire world.
    We support you!

    This country was founded on individualism and respect for different points of view.
    This young man is showing us what that truly means.

  • November 18, 2009 at 9:23 pm
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    MediaCurves.com conducted a study among 328 viewers of a new clip discussing a student who refuses to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance in support of gay marriage. The majority of viewers (66%) reported that the student should not be forced to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. While the majority of respondents supported the student after watching the video, prior to viewing the video, the majority of viewers (65%) indicated that students “should be” forced to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. More in depth results can be seen at:
    http://www.mediacurves.com/Politics/J7639-PledgeofAllegiance/Index.cfm
    Thanks,
    Ben

  • November 19, 2009 at 1:15 am
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    I just wanted to say Cheers to Will Phillips! Not only am I thrilled to see that there are still some U.S. citizens who take the pledge of allegiance seriously and take the time to really understand what they are (or are not) pledging, it’s inspiring to see this young man take a stance to support what he believes in. You are extremely brave, Will, and I hope that the positive responses you receive greatly outweigh the negative ones. I was sad to hear that you are subjected to name-calling at school, please understand that there are a lot of us out in the world who understand how brave and smart you are and admire your efforts!!! Hopefully you will be part of a growing movement that will help educate those who don’t understand what equality is really all about. Even if people don’t agree with your beliefs, hopefully they will still admire your bravery in standing up for what you believe in. Well done! – Kay

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