The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) voted May 23 in Texas to lift the ban on openly gay youth in the organization.
According to NBC News, 61 percent of the 1,232 delegates in the Scouting National Council voted to lift the ban.
The final tally of the voting was 757 in favor and 475 against.
“This resolution today dealt with youth. We have not changed our adult membership standards. They have served us well for the last 100 years. Those were not on the table,” said Tico Perez, BSA national commissioner.
The new policy will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, according to NBC News.
According to a statement released by the BSA, this will give the organization time to make changes within its 116,000 Scouting units.
According to NBC News, voters against the policy threatened to remove sponsorships while parents threatened to remove their boys from the program.
“While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting. Going forward, our Scouting family will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth in order to help them grow into good, strong citizens. America’s youth need Scouting, and by focusing on the goals that unite us, we can continue to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve,” said Wayne Perry, the national president for the BSA.
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded to the BSA’s decision in a press release.
“The Church appreciates BSA’s reaffirmation of its commitment to duty to God which includes service to others and moral behavior — central principles of our teaching to young men. As in the past, the Church will work with BSA to harmonize what Scouting has to offer with the varying needs of our young men. We trust that BSA will implement and administer the approved policy in an appropriate and effective manner,” according to the press release.
The Church will continue to work closely with the BSA and seek effective ways to address the needs of the youth, according to the press release.