Nearly two million people across the country signed petitions and showed their support for equality in the Boy Scouts.
After a yearlong battle and hours of deliberation… equality advocates finally celebrated a big victory today as the Boy Scouts of America lifted its ban on gay scouts.
Wilson Cruz works with GLAAD, an advocacy group for the LGBT community, and says the vote is a big step forward.
Not everyone was pleased with decision. Some protesters in Texas, where the vote took place, didn’t just condemn homosexuality in the scouts, but in society.
“It’s evil. We need to purge it from our society,” said Ronald Brock, who opposes gays in Scouts. “From our churches first, our society, our government, and organizations like this that are designed to help boys instead of destroying them.”
Despite the opposition, more than 60-percent of the Boy Scouts National Council voted in favor of inclusion. The new membership standards will state that “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”
But Gay and Lesbian parent leaders will still be banned from the organization.
“While it is a step in the right direction, it’s solving one form of discrimination with another,” said Pascal Tessier, who is a gay Scout.
Still, Cruz is confident that today’s decision will open the door for gay scouts to become leaders in the future.
While some scouts throughout the country are already celebrating, many won’t be able to earn those merit badges until next year.
The new policy does not go into effect until January 1st.