Openly gay youths can join the Boy Scouts of America, its voting members decided Thursday, though gay leaders promptly called the change in the century-old program for boys and teens inadequate and vowed to continue to pressure the Scouts to go further.
More than 60 percent of the approximately 1,400 local Boy Scouts of America leaders voting Thursday afternoon supported the proposed resolution drafted by the organizationâ€™s governing board, which also specifically reaffirms the ban on gay adults serving as Scout leaders.
Scouting leaders will begin to work immediately on changes related to the policy, which will go into effect Jan 1. The newly adopted sentence says, â€œNo youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.â€
But adults who are open homosexuals still may not be scoutmasters, leaders, volunteers or employees, and that part of the outcome means the bitter debate over the Scoutsâ€™ membership policy is unlikely to end.
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