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:
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.”