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US Boy Scouts Vote to Allow Openly Gay Members

The Boy Scouts of America has voted to lift its official ban against openly gay members, but will keep the ban on gay scout leaders.

More than 60 percent of the 1400 members of its National Council voted to lift the ban at their annual meeting in Texas Thursday.

It adopted a resolution saying that America needs scouting and the organization's work will stay focused on what unites members. It says starting January 1, no youth may be denied membership on the basis of sexual orientation or preference. It says there is no change in its policy in adult members.

Many current members say they have no objections to allowing openly gay scouts to join.

But many scout chapters are sponsored by churches and other religious groups. They opposed changing the policy towards gays, Some parents have threatened to take their sons out of scouting.

The Boy Scouts were founded in 1910 but did not have a policy banning gays until 1991.