The executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America has unanimously adopted a resolution that would allow gay adults to serve as Scout leaders, ending a longstanding ban on gay leaders in the organization.
“This resolution will allow chartered organizations to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation, continuing Scouting’s longstanding policy of chartered organizations selecting their leaders,” the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement. The vote was held last Friday, and the organization announced the results Monday.
The organization’s National Executive Board will meet July 27 to ratify the resolution. The Boy Scouts attributed the resolution to “rapid changes in society and increasing legal challenges at the federal, state, and local levels.”
The move comes months after Robert Gates, the president of the Boy Scouts of America, called on the organization to reassess its ban on gay adults, saying, “We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be.”
The former CIA director, who previously served as defense secretary, warned officials in the organization in May that failure to make changes quickly could spell “the end of us as a national movement.” He also told NPR “gays would be permitted in units that want to have them,” but churches that sponsor Scout units would be allowed to exercise their religious freedom and ensure leaders in troops they sponsor, or units that they sponsor, reflect the faith of the sponsoring institution.
Some 70 percent of Scout units are sponsored by churches.
The BSA voted in 2013 to allow gay members, but not scoutmasters.