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Boy Scouts Considering Dropping Ban on Gays

The Boy Scouts of America may decide next week whether to drop its long-time official policy barring gay members and leaders.

Scout executives say they plan to take up the controversial issue at their regular executive board meeting.

If passed, sexual orientation would no longer be a part of the Scouts' official membership criteria. It would leave the matter up to individual chapters and sponsors.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Boy Scouts' right to ban homosexuals in 2000. But the Scouts became a target of criticism by human rights activists.

A number of large corporate sponsors, including UPS and Merck, announced late last year they would cut contributions to the Scouts if they continued to discriminate.

But conservative religious groups, who also sponsor Scout units, back the ban on gays.

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