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Published May 23, 2013, 10:05 PM

Boy Scouts lift on openly gay boys could affect area chapters

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - For the first time in its 103 year history, the Boy Scouts of America will accept openly gay boys into its ranks.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - For the first time in its 103 year history, the Boy Scouts of America will accept openly gay boys into its ranks.

About 1,400 members of the national council cast their ballots in Grapevine, Texas today.

The resolution removes restrictions denying membership to youth based on sexual orientation. It doesn't, however change requirements for adults, so a ban on gay troop leaders is still effective.

But the decision could affect troop membership and sponsorship.

A long-standing ban against openly gay youth joining the Boy Scouts of America has been lifted.

"I think it's the way it should be. I think that's the way the country is today and everybody should be accepting of everyone."

"I think it's good that they can be more open about it and they can just be themselves."

The Northern Lights Council oversees about 400 Boy Scout groups. Anticipating a vote on this issue, they gauged opinions of parents and leaders in the Red River Valley. Reactions were mixed, but with one common theme:

Travis Christopher, Executive Director: "What we heard from our community was we're in the business of serving kids. And that's not going to change."

Executive Director Travis Christopher is in Grapevine, Texas where 1,400 volunteer members passed the resolution. Christopher says the next 30 days will be about communicating with members and charter organizations about the change. Many charters, or troop sponsors, are churches.

Christopher: "If we do have a situation where we do have people or chartering organizations leave, we'll have to address that problem by finding a new charter partner or community group to charter that cub scout pack or boy scout troop."

The Catholic Church is one of the largest supporters of the Boy Scouts, but do not approve of the gay lifestyle. They have not taken an official stance on this vote.

The new rules take effect January 1st, 2014.

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