A report by the Italian Scouting Association has reportedly found that nine out of ten Scouts and Girl Guides questioned have no problem with pre-marital sex.

Other liberal attitudes expressed by the young people, gathered together from international scouting associations at a jamboree in Florence in 2006, include one quarter of the girls and 12 per cent of the boys reportedly saying that they would consider a same-sex experience.

More than 80 per cent of those questioned said they were happy to get drunk and almost half said they would smoke marijuana if offered.

Half the respondents said they believed in God, 39 per cent said they had the right to an abortion if they needed one, and 91 per cent said they download pirated material from the internet.

LGBT organisations were barred from establishing workshops at the jamboree, although most European scouting organisations have no prohibition on LGBT members.

The report on the attitudes of scouts in the 21st century was published, two years after it was compiled, by the Institute of the Innocents.

An Italian government-funded organisation, the institute carries out research into children, family life and children’s welfare.

“There was an open-mindedness about breaking the rules that is common among young people,” a spokesperson said.

Homosexuals are not restricted from membership or leadership positions in most European associations, including The Scout Association of the United Kingdom, Ring deutscher Pfadfinderverbände of Germany (German Scout Federation), and the Swedish Guide and Scout Association as well as Scouts Canada.

The Boy Scouts of America currently bans openly homosexual people from being members of the organisation, although there has been increasing pressure from local governments to change this.

Gay rights advocates argue that organisations who discriminate against people should not be entitled to artificially low rent on public properties or be given funding from the public budget.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued San Diego and the Boy Scouts in August 2000 on behalf of a lesbian couple and an agnostic couple, both with scouting-age sons.

They filed the lawsuit after the City Council voted to extend the group’s 50-year lease of Balboa Park camp space for another 25 years.

However, In June 2000 the US Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America has a constitutional right to exclude openly gay men from serving as troop leaders.

“It is not that surprising really,” reported Chiara Sapigni, president of the Italian Scouting Association, said of the findings of the 2006 poll.

“Scouts are not a niche group, but they are children of our age, and they share the same slim respect for the rules that non Scouts have.”

She added: “When Scouts are together, they share a set of ethical rules.

“The problem is their everyday lives. At school and in their free time, they behave just like their friends, and not just sexually. A significant part has little confidence in politicians, and does not respect the rules of society.”

Andrew Thorp, of the British Scout Association, told the Daily Telegraph: “We don’t feel that this survey is representative of the Scout movement in general.”

Founded by Robert Baden-Powell in England in 1907, the Scout movement has an estimated 38 million members in 216 countries.