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Boy Scouts of America


The Boy Scouts of America has made a big change.

The organization voted Monday to end its decades-long ban on gay scout leaders, with the decision being approved by 79 percent of the national executive board, who met on Thursday.

They ultimately came to the conclusion that the policy of excluding gay adults "was no longer legally defensible," according to NBC News.

But there is one thing—while the lift on the gay ban is effective immediately, the report states local scouting units retain the ability to reject gay applicants for leadership positions if hiring them would violate the unit's religious beliefs.

"This change allows Scouting's members and parents to select local units, chartered by organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families," said a statement from the Scouts' leadership.

"For far too long this issue has divided and distracted us," former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Scouting's current president, said in a statement. "Now it's time to unite behind our shared belief in the extraordinary power of Scouting to be a force for good in a community and in the lives of its youth members."

Although this move is a big step for the organization, other rights organizations argue that there's still work to be done.

"Today's vote by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay, lesbian and bisexual adults to work and volunteer is a welcome step toward erasing a stain on this important organization," said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a statement after the vote. "But including an exemption for troops sponsored by religious organizations undermines and diminishes the historic nature of today's decision."