Robert Gates, president of the Boy Scouts of America, on Thursday urged members to lift the decades-old ban on openly gay adult troop leaders "sooner rather than later," during a speech at the organization's annual national meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.
"I am not asking the national board for any action to change our current policy at this meeting," said Gates. "But I must speak as plainly and bluntly to you as I spoke to preisdents when I was director of the CIA and secretary of defense. We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be.
"The Greater New York Area Council, Denver area Council, and others are taking a stand counter to national policy," Gates added, emphasizing that the status quo in the BSA policy "cannot be sustained."
The BSA's policy prohibits openly gay adults from serving as leaders in the scouts. Gates alluded to the impending Supreme Court decision on gay marriage as a significant basis for changing the organization's current policy, which since 2013 allows openly gay youth to become and remain members in the national organization, but not adults.
In his remarks, Gates continued to point to cultural and legal shifts as the reason for the change in policy. "The country is changing and we are increasingly at odds with the legal landscape at both the state and federal levels.
Gated again stressed urgency, declaring, "We can act on our own or be forced to act but, either way, I suspect we do not have a lot of time."
The BSA president also admitted that the change in policy will upset many friends and leaders of the organization, but asserted that he has to suggest the change in policy to "preserve the Boy Scouts of America in recognition for all it has done for America, and all it can and must do in the future.
"I assure you that I have no hidden agenda," he declared.
The Christian Post reported in 2013 that the Boy Scouts were making plans to lift the ban on openly gay scout leaders.
Last year, The Christian Post reported on the dramatic growth of Trail Life USA, a biblically based alternative to the Boy Scouts of America, formed in 2013 in reaction to the Boy Scouts dropping their ban on openly gay youth.
More than 2.5 million boys are members of the Boy Scouts of America. It was founded in 1910 and over 1 million adult males serve as leaders in the organization.
The Boy Scout motto reads: "On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."