The Boy Scouts of America may end its anti-gay ban as early as next week.
The Board of Directors will discuss removing the anti-gay language from the national organization’s rules at its meeting next week, allowing local chapters to decide whether to allow gay members or Scout leaders.
In recent months, UPS, Intel and Merck have pulled their funding of the organization because of the discrimination.
A BSA official told NBC News that more companies had threatened to pull funding if the ban was not lifted.
BSA spokesman Deron Smith released a statement about the policy change.
“Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation,” the statement reads in part. “This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families.”
In July, ousted Cub Scout mom Jennifer Tyrrell brought her Change.org petition to the Irving headquarters. Days before BSA officials said a two-year examination of the anti-gay policy found that the ban was in the best interest of the organization.
Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation released a statement praising the discussion and calling for a change in policy.
“The Boy Scouts of America have heard from scouts, corporations and millions of Americans that discriminating against gay scouts and scout leaders is wrong,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “Scouting is a valuable institution and this change will only strengthen its core principles of fairness and respect.”
Read the full release below.