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Boy Scouts Poised to Likely Lift Long-Standing Ban on Gay Leaders — and Here Are Some of the Wide-Ranging Reactions

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"Each church will decide on their own whether [to continue] working with the Boy Scouts based on the current policy."

The Boy Scouts uniform fashioned with an Quality patch is on the arm of Brad Hankins, a campaign director for Scouts for Equality, as he responds to questions during a news conference in front of the Boy Scouts of America headquarters Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in Dallas, Texas. Scouts and their families have delivered a petition to the Boy Scouts of America headquarters urging an end to a policy banning gay scouts and leaders from the organization. Credit: AP

An array of reactions have followed the Boy Scouts of America's unanimous executive committee adoption of a resolution that would end the organization's ban on gay adults leaders.

The decision would not set a national standard, but would instead let each individual unit set its own policy about how to handle openly gay leaders; groups opposed would be permitted to continue the current policy, the Associated Press reported.

The Boy Scouts would not officially implement or finalize the decision until July 27 when the 80-member national executive board meets to discuss it.

The Boy Scouts uniform fashioned with an Quality patch is on the arm of Brad Hankins, a campaign director for Scouts for Equality, as he responds to questions during a news conference in front of the Boy Scouts of America headquarters Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in Dallas, Texas. Scouts and their families have delivered a petition to the Boy Scouts of America headquarters urging an end to a policy banning gay scouts and leaders from the organization. Credit: AP AP

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded by urging that any new policy give the denomination the right to select leaders who conform to its beliefs and ideals.

"As a chartering organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always had the right to select Scout leaders who adhere to moral and religious principles that are consistent with our doctrines and beliefs," the Mormon church's statement read. "Any resolution adopted by the Boy Scouts of America regarding leadership in Scouting must continue to affirm that right."

Roger Oldham, a spokesperson with the Southern Baptist Convention, expressed disappointment on Monday, but said that he was not surprised.

"Each church will decide on their own whether continuing working with the Boy Scouts based on the current policy," he told the Los Angeles Times.

Debate continues both inside and outside of the organization, though some Boy Scout leaders support the change.

"We are thrilled that the national organization is moving in this direction,: Chuck Keathley, chief of the Scouts’ Greater Los Angeles Area Council, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "We’ve been long supporters of this change, and we look forward to having this behind us and being able to deliver on our mission."

This latest Boy Scouts' decision comes after Robert Gates, the organization's president, urged his organization back in May to change course and consider allowing gay adults to participate — something that has traditionally been banned within the organization.

“The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained,” Gates, former U.S. secretary of defense, said at the Boy Scouts’ annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, noting at the time that change was potentially on the horizon.

Gates’ comments come after the Boy Scouts of America’s 2013 decision to adopt a new policy allowing openly gay youths to join the organization. That decision has sparked a great deal of debate as well as the creation of a competitor called Trail Life USA, a Christian organization that describes itself as an “adventure, character, and leadership movement for young men.”

The alternative group attracted 20,000 members in its first 12 months and has continued to grow.

“The seeds of [Trail Life USA] were planted over a number of years as there was a general sense that BSA was abandoning its traditional values,” Trail Life USA CEO Mark Hancock told TheBlaze earlier this year. “The May 2013 decision to allow open and avowed homosexual youth against the wishes of a majority of members could be seen as the catalyst that caused hundreds of volunteers to get serious about creating an alternative.”

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