The Boy Scouts of America's National Council has voted to ease a long-standing ban and allow openly gay boys to be accepted as Scouts.
Of the local Scout leaders voting at their annual meeting in Texas, more than 60 percent supported the proposal.
Under the proposal drafted by the Scouts' governing board, gay adults will remain barred from serving as Scout leaders.
Jason Connolly is the committee chairman for Troop 262 in Palm Springs. He thinks the vote need to happen. "Boy Scouts should be reflective of what's going on in as society as a whole," said Connolly.
He says the Boy Scouts need to change to stay relevant. He points to examples from the Scouts' history. "The Boy Scouts of America faced a similar issue in the 1920s about admitting minority scouts and they made the decision to do so," said Connolly. "It should be carried out today as well."
The decision affects more than 2.5 million youth members in the organization, a handful who live in the Coachella Valley. A place where Connolly says, acceptance of gays comes more easily. "In the last few years, in the troop that I'm affiliated with, we had two scouts that were raised by lesbian parents," said Connolly. "One of those scouts became an Eagle Scout."
The outcome is unlikely to end a bitter debate over the Scouts' membership policy.
Some conservative churches that sponsor Scout units wanted to continue excluding gay youths, in some cases threatening to defect if the ban were lifted. More liberal Scout leaders - while supporting the proposal to accept gay youth - have made clear they want the ban on gay adults lifted as well. "It will be inevitable that there will be gay scout leaders openly accepted in the near future," said Connolly.