The Executive Committee’s vote followed by two years the Boy Scouts’ approval of lifting its prohibition on gay scouts. “The May 2013 decision to allow open and avowed homosexual youth against the wishes of a majority of members could be seen as the catalyst that caused hundreds of volunteers to get serious about creating an alternative”.

The resolution still has to be ratified by the full national executive board for Boy Scouts of America, but Wahls says it would be unprecedented to s hoot down something that’s been unanimously approved by the executive committee.

Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, expressed skepticism the Boy Scouts will hold the line on protecting the rights of churches and other religious institutions. The Boy Scouts of America a year ago began allowing openly gay youth to participate in the organization as scouts, thanks in large part to grassroots work by Scouts for Equality and its executive director Zach Wahls, and advocacy by supportive scouts, scout leaders, and scouting parents.

And some gay rights organizations said the resolution left religious groups room to discriminate.

A statement released by the Boy Scouts states that the “resolution will allow chartered organizations to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation, continuing Scouting’s longstanding policy of chartered organizations selecting their leaders”.

If the resolution passes, local troops will have to abide. Said Gates, it “cannot be sustained” any longer. The BSA must voluntarily permit gay leaders before the judicial system requires it to do so, Gates said.

By the end of July, any adult will be able to lead Boy Scouts, no matter their sexual orientation.

“[W]riting in an exemption for troops organized by religious organizations undermines the potentially historic nature of today’s vote”, said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign.

We are thrilled that the national organization is moving in this direction. The resolution makes eligible gay or bisexual adults who previously were removed as leaders. “And so it would be a statement that “it’s okay” and be saying to the kids, to the boys that ‘that’s okay.’ And so for me personally, I hope they don’t do that”, said Bates.

In a memo sent Monday to local Scout officials nationwide, the BSA’s top leaders said they had consulted their religious partners before acting on the resolution, and they pledged to defend the right of any church-sponsored units to continue excluding gay adults from leadership posts.