The has proposed lifting its long-standing ban against gay youth, although the organization would continue to bar openly gay or lesbian adult leaders, the reports.
The proposal, which will be presented to the organization's fourteen-hundred-member national council in May for approval, comes after BSA received feedback from some two hundred thousand members, donors, and other key stakeholders about its exclusionary policy. "While perspectives and opinions vary significantly," said the organization in a statement, "parents, adults in the Scouting community, and teens alike tend to agree that youth should not be denied the benefits of Scouting."
A number of conservative and religious groups have come out against the proposal, arguing that the revised policy says "in essence, that homosexuality is morally acceptable until a boy turns 18 — then, when [he] comes of age, he's removed from the Scouts." Meanwhile, some gay rights groups have opposed the proposal on similar grounds while arguing that the ban against gays and lesbians should be dropped completely.
Despite the criticism, BSA contends that its "proposed resolution...reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting."