Boy Scouts expected to lift ban on gay adult leaders on Monday

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Boy Scouts to End Ban on Openly Gay Leaders

The Boy Scouts of America is expected to end its ban on gay adult leaders on Monday, dismantling a policy that has deeply divided the membership of the 105-year-old Texas-based organization.

The Boy Scouts National Executive Board will consider a resolution that was unanimously approved by the organization's executive committee on July 13. The organization is urging an end to the ban because of "sea change in the law with respect to gay rights."

The decision would follow the landmark ruling in late June by the U.S. Supreme Court allowing same-sex marriages nationwide. In May, the Boy Scouts' president, former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, called the ban "unsustainable" and said it needed to change.

The Irving, Texas-based organization lifted its ban on gay youth in 2013, but had continued to prohibit the participation of openly gay adults.

The selection of Gates as president of the organization last year was seen as an opportunity to revisit the policy since he helped end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that barred openly gay people from serving in the U.S. military.

The Boy Scouts of America, whose stated mission is to prepare youth for life and leadership, has 2.5 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and about 960,000 volunteers in local units, according to the organization's website.

The anticipated end of the Boy Scouts ban has been welcomed by gay rights advocates and criticized by conservatives.

Zach Wahls, an eagle scout and executive director of Scouts for Equality, has labeled the ban a "towering example of explicit, institutional homophobia."

John Stemberger, chairman of the breakaway Christian youth outdoor program Tail Life USA, said on Friday that lifting the ban is an affront to Christian morals and will make it "even more challenging for a church to integrate a (Boy Scouts) unit as part of a church's ministry offerings."

The membership policy change would no longer prohibit gay adult participation but would allow local units latitude to make their own choices regarding gay leaders.

"The BSA national policy that prohibits gay adults from serving as leaders is no longer legally defensible," the organization said in statement earlier this month. "However, the BSA's commitment to duty to God and the rights of religious chartered organizations to select their leaders is unwavering."

(Reporting by Marice Richter in Dallas; Editing by Grant McCool)

Photos of the organization and its troops leading up to the historic change:

10 PHOTOS
Boy Scouts of America Open Ranks to Gay Youth, new hire, Pascal Tessier
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Boy Scouts expected to lift ban on gay adult leaders on Monday
SAN RAFAEL, CA - JULY 27: Boy Scout merit badge patches are displayed in a store at the Marin Council of the Boy Scouts of America on July 27, 2015 in San Rafael, California. The national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America is poised to vote to end a ban on gay adult leaders. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN RAFAEL, CA - JULY 27: A Boy Scout uniform hangs in a store at the Marin Council of the Boy Scouts of America on July 27, 2015 in San Rafael, California. The national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America is poised to vote to end a ban on gay adult leaders. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN RAFAEL, CA - JULY 27: The Boy Scout logo is displayed in a store at the Marin Council of the Boy Scouts of America on July 27, 2015 in San Rafael, California. The national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America is poised to vote to end a ban on gay adult leaders. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Dave Knapp, Pascal Tessier and Greg Bourke attend the 19th Annual Out100 Awards presented by Buick at Terminal 5 on November 14, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for OUT100 presented by Buick)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 22: Members of Scouts for Equality hold a rally to call for equality and inclusion for gays in the Boy Scouts of America as part of the "Scouts for Equality Day of Action" May 22, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Boy Scouts of America is scheduled to hold a two day meeting tomorrow with 1,400 local adult leaders to consider changing its policy of barring openly gay teens from participating in the Boy Scouts. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - APRIL 11: Pascal Tessier, 16, left, protests with others for equality within Boy Scouts of America along Wisconsin Ave. on Thursday April 11, 2013 in Bethesda, MD. Tessier is a scout and is gay. (Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)
GRAPEVINE, TX - MAY 23: Jennifer Tyrrell (L) of Bridgeport, Ohio, speaks at a news conference as Pascal Tessier, 16, of Kensington, Maryland, wipes his eyes at a news conference held at the Great Wolf Lodge May 23, 2013 in Grapevine, Texas. The Boy Scouts of America today ended its policy of prohibitting openly gay youths from participating in Scout activities, while leaving intact its ban on gay adults and leaders. Jennifer was kicked out of the scouts as a Cub Scout den leader in 2012 for being openly gay. Pascal, who was told by Scout leaders that since he was openly gay, he could not attain the Eagle Scout rank, but was permitted to remain a Scout, will now be able to resume his pursuit of the Eagle Scout rank. (Photo by Stewart House/Getty Images)
GRAPEVINE, TX - MAY 23: Jennifer Tyrrell of Bridgeport, Ohio, hugs Pascal Tessier, 16, of Kensington, Maryland, at a news conference held at the Great Wolf Lodge May 23, 2013 in Grapevine, Texas. The Boy Scouts of America today ended its policy of prohibitting openly gay youths from participating in Scout activities, while leaving intact its ban on gay adults and leaders. Jennifer was kicked out of the scouts as a Cub Scout den leader in 2012 for being openly gay. Pascal was told by Scout leaders that since he was openly gay he could not attain the Eagle Scout rank, but was permitted to remain a Scout. After today's decision, he will be able to resume his pursuit of the Eagle Scout rank. (Photo by Stewart House/Getty Images)
GRAPEVINE, TX - MAY 23: Jennifer Tyrrell of Bridgeport, Ohio, a Cub Scout den leader who was kicked out in 2012 for being openly gay, embraces her son Cruz Burns, 8, before a news conference at the Great Wolf Lodge May 23, 2013 in Grapevine, Texas. The Boy Scouts of America today ended its policy of prohibitting openly gay youths from participating in Scout activities, while leaving intact its ban on gay adults and leaders. (Photo by Stewart House/Getty Images)
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