(Irving, Texas) Boy Scout executives won’t vote this week on a proposal that would allow local troops to decide whether to welcome gay members and leaders.
The national organization’s executive board had been expected to vote on the proposal Wednesday, but said instead that it needs more time to get comment on the issue from its members.
The decision will now be made at the organization’s annual meeting in May.
About 1,400 members of the group’s national council will take part during that gathering, the board said.
“After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy,” the board said in a statement.
In the meantime, the organization will “further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns.”
Many conservatives and religious groups that sponsor Scout troops argued against the proposal, saying the change would dilute the Boy Scout message of morality and potentially destroy the organization.
Gay rights groups and other critics had hoped the organization would lift the ban, but had expressed concerns of their own that allowing local troops to make the decision whether to admit gays would still result in unequal treatment.
The Boy Scouts announced last month that it would consider changing its longstanding policy against allowing openly gay members.