Boy Scouts delay decision on allowing gay members
NEW YORK (AFP) - The Boy Scouts of America, a youth group long seen as symbolising traditional US values, announced on Wednesday it was delaying a decision on the contentious issue of whether to allow gays to join.
The Scouts had ruled last year to maintain the ban on openly gay boys and adult leaders. Amid political pressure and rapidly shifting social attitudes, the Scouts' leadership said it would meet on the issue - leading to speculation that a U-turn was in store.
However, the executive board issued a statement afterwards, saying that "after careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organisation..., (it) concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organisation needs time."
"The approximately 1,400 voting members of the National Council will take action on the resolution at the National Annual Meeting in May 2013," the statement said. The 103-year-old institution, famed for its outdoor training programmes and preaching of simple virtues, has close links to the country's conservative and religious heartlands.