The Boy Scouts of America announced Monday that they are considering removing a long-held national restriction on gay members and leaders.
Gay rights advocacy groups say the potential policy shift is in response to ceaseless protests against the organization over the last several years. ABC News reports efforts have been gaining momentum since 2000, when the Supreme Court upheld the Scouts' right to exclude gays.
The New York Times reports that the National Geographic Channel received pressure from gay organizations for their series called “Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?” that pits active scouts against adults in tasks typical of what is asked of Boy Scout members.
The show, which is scheduled to begin on March 4, contains a disclaimer denouncing the Scouts for their ban on gay candidates for membership.
The Family Research Council, a conservative lobbying group, said in a statement that lifting the no-gay policy would be "devastating" to the organization that has prided itself on the development of character in boys.
KARE 11 spoke with three former Minnesota Boy Scouts, both gay, that support the removal of the organization's ban on gay members. Brandon Lueder of Minneapolis says the potential change is a sign of the times.
"I believe that everybody should be what they want to be," Lueder says. "If he wants to be a Boy Scout or he wants to be a ballet dancer...it's 2013."
The Northern Star Council, Minnesota's largest Boy Scout group, said in July that gays and lesbians are welcome in its troops, according to the Star Tribune. The group told KARE 11 that they are waiting to comment further until a final decision is made.
If the change is approved, local chapters would be able to decide whether to admit gay members.
The New York Times says no timeline for making a formal decision has been established, but scout officials say discussion on the proposal is anticipated at next week's national executive board meeting.