The Boy Scouts of America's executive board has delayed a vote on whether to drop its long-time official policy barring gay members and leaders.
Scout executives had planned to take up the controversial issue at their regular executive board meeting Wednesday in Dallas. But the group says it has decided to postpone action on the issue until its national meeting in May.
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 have become a target of criticism by human-rights activists.
President Barack Obama has called on the organization to open its membership to gays, saying Boy Scouts is a great institution that exposes young people to opportunities and leadership.
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.