The Boy Scouts of America’s national executive board has delayed a decision on whether to lift its longstanding ban on gay scouts and leaders. The BSA today said the organization will instead take action on the resolution at its national meeting in May. The Scouts said last week that the organization was considering a shift in its policy, which has led officials to remove gay leaders and scouts. That announcement pushed years of debate over the policy to an even higher level.
President Obama—Scouting’s honorary president—spoke in favor of letting gay scouts in, saying that “gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does in every institution and walk of life.” Others, like Texas Gov. Rick Perry, an Eagle Scout, disagreed. “To have popular culture impact 100 years of their standards is inappropriate,” Perry said last weekend. Protesters on both sides rallied at BSA headquarters in Irving, outside Dallas. Conservatives have warned of mass defections if Scouting allows gay membership to be determined by troops.