DALLAS- The Boy Scouts of America lifted its outright ban on openly gay adult leaders and employees on Monday, rolling back a policy that has deeply divided the membership of the 105-year-old Texas-based organization.
The new policy, which takes effect immediately, comes three years after the organization removed its prohibition on gay youth, but local Boy Scout units chartered by religious organizations will still be permitted to exclude gay adults from serving as den leaders, scoutmasters or camp counselors.
Churches and other faith-based organizations account for about 70 percent of the 100,000-plus Boy Scout units nationwide. The rest are chartered to civic groups and educational organizations.
The latest action, the Boy Scouts said in a statement posted online, "respects the rights of religious chartered organizations to choose adult volunteers whose beliefs are consistent with their own."
However, no adult applying for a job as a paid employee or as a volunteer outside a local unit will be denied on the basis of sexual orientation, according to the resolution approved on Monday night.
The resolution lifting the blanket ban on gay adult leaders was approved by 79 percent of the National Executive Board members voting and present, the Boy Scouts said.