Ernst and Young CEO James Turley, a member of the board for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), has spoken out to say that he wishes the organisation had “gone further”, to be inclusive of gay members, volunteers and staff.

Turley, who was one of the first on the BSA board to speak out against its policy banning gay scouts and adults, said he was “optimistic that some change will take place” at the BSA’s vote on the issue, later this week.

In an editorial for Businessweek, he said he had originally feared repercussions against Ernst and Young, but that he felt like he needed to speak out on the issue.

“The Boy Scouts is a member- and volunteer-driven organization. That’s part of our strength, but it’s also a challenge when it comes to making change. This was an issue in the corporate world a dozen years ago. The difference is that, as a leader, you can say who we are, this is who we’re going to be, and let’s move forward. When we decided to offer domestic partner benefits to LGBT employees, I didn’t have to ask for a vote. The reality is that most of our partners were middle-aged white guys, and it probably wouldn’t have passed,” he said.

“I wish we’d gone further this time. I hoped it would have been more. But this is a substantial and significant change. There will be another vote in late May, and I’m hopeful and optimistic that some change will take place. I do not think that this should or will be the end of the debate.”

The Boy Scouts of America recently announced it would propose to members of its National Council at a meeting in Texas later this month lifting the ban on gay youth scouts, but maintaining a ban on gay adult leaders.

In July 2012, after a two year review, the Boy Scouts of America announced it would retain its ban on gay members, volunteers and staff.

The Boy Scouts of America is currently embroiled in a debate over whether to lift its ban on gay volunteers, members and staff. In February, it delayed a vote on whether or not to lift the ban until May “due to the complexity of the issue”.

A poll released in February found that a majority of US voters thought the Boy Scouts of America should drop its ban on gay scouts, volunteers and staff.