Boy Scouts of America delegates are voting to allow openly gay Boy Scouts for the first time in the more than 100-year-old conservative organization’s history. The new resolution however would keep out gay adult leaders.
The annual meeting began on Wednesday, the 1,400 delegates of the National Council will vote on the policy at the BSA meeting in Grapevine, Texas.
Members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter to the Boy Scouts this week, urging the delegates gathered at a Grapevine hotel to support the resolution lifting a ban on openly gay youth, allowing them to be scouts in good standing.
Gay-rights supporters have welcomed the proposed change but want the Boy Scouts to lift the ban on gay adults as well.
More than 70 percent of Boy Scout units are sponsored by a religious group, some that do not want to allow gay youth to join.
Earlier this month, Baptist and evangelical groups backing the longtime bans held dozens of rallies across the U.S.
If the resolution passes, it could mean that many conservative and church sponsors of troops may cancel those sponsorships, leaving troops without a place to meet.
One is Pack 215, chartered by the Eagle Heights Baptist Church in Harrison, Ark. The church’s pastor has said it will not stay on as sponsor if the policy is changed.
"This would be inconsistent with the biblical values and the essence upon which we operate our ministries," said Pastor Jay Scribner, who said he would work with the pack to help it decide next steps should the policy change.
Scribner said the decision to pull sponsorship would come "with a heavy heart, but at the same time, with firm biblical convictions." NBC News reports.
Reverend Earnest Easley, Senior Pastor of the Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia, said his church could no longer sponsor the Boy Scouts if they admit openly gay boys, according to CNN news.
Yet the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, which sponsors almost half of the faith-based charters (almost 421,000 boys and young men), recently shifted its position and now supports banning only openly gay adult leaders.