Boy Scouts of America executive committee OKs ending ban on gay leaders

In this Friday, May 23, 2014 file photo, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates addresses the Boy Scouts of America's annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn., after being selected as the organization's new president. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File)

The executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America has unanimously approved a resolution that would end the organization's blanket ban on gay adult leaders and let individual scout units set their own policy on the long-divisive issue.

In a statement Monday, the BSA said the resolution was approved by the 17-member executive committee on Friday, and would become official policy if ratified by the organization's 80-member National Executive Board at a meeting on July 27.

The committee action follows an emphatic speech in May by the BSA's president, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, declaring that the longstanding ban on participation by openly gay adults was no longer sustainable.

In 2013, after bitter internal debate, the BSA decided to allow openly gay youth as scouts, but not gay adults as leaders. That change took effect in January 2014.

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