GRAPEVINE — The Boy Scouts of America has decided to end its longtime ban on gay Scouts in the organization.
The 1,400 members of the BSA’s National Council passed a resolution Thursday that would require the organization to welcome gay youth, BSA President Wayne Perry announced.
Perry came out publicly for welcoming gay youth on Wednesday and encouraged the Council to pass the resolution.
The decision takes effect Jan. 1, 2014. The group will continue to ban gay adult leaders. A task force to help with the implementation was already been created.
The resolution reportedly passed with 61 percent of National Council members voting in favor, and 38 percent voting against.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin issued a statement calling this “a historic day for Boy Scouts across the country who want to be a part of this great American institution.”
“But the new policy doesn’t go far enough,” he added. “Parents and adults of good moral character, regardless of sexual orientation, should be able to volunteer their time to mentor the next generation of Americans.”
Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and Executive Director of Scouts for Equality, said the Scouts “can do better.”
“We welcome the news that the ban on gay Scouts is history, but our work isn’t over until we honor the Scout Law by making this American institution open and affirming to all,” Wahls said.
Resource Center Dallas CEO Cece Cox called the vote a “half-measure.”
“It is a step forward from their previous position, but not a full solution,” she said. “It tells gay Scouts that they can take part in their troops, but once they reach adulthood, they will be denied the ability to lead. It also excludes open LGBT adult leadership in the Scouts, thereby maintaining a system of ‘less-than’ status. Scouting should not rest and pat itself on the back for only lifting the ban on gay Scouts; they should take the next step and lift it for adult leadership as well.”