The Boy Scouts of America will consider changing its opposition to allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the organization after it received a petition signed by more than 275,000 people at its national annual meeting.
The petition was first initiated on the progressive website Change.org and it was delivered last week to the organization by Zach Wahls, a 20-year-old Iowa Eagle Scout whose video voicing support of his two gay mothers went viral last year.
The Boy Scouts will consider a new policy for next year that would permit local charters to decide whether to accept gay members and leaders. However, spokesman Deron Smith said there were no plans to lift the ban in the near future.
The proposal will be considered by a subcommittee, which will then make a recommendation to the national executive board, a process that will not be complete for another year.
Wahls told the Associated Press he is hopeful the ban will eventually be lifted. “One, is the fact that they were even willing to consider it — this is a really big development,” he told the AP. “It has also happened at a time when we have this level of online mobilization … that allows real change.”