The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have revealed that a decision on whether to allow openly gay scouts to be members will be held on Thursday 23 May, after a drawn-out period of deliberation which has revealed deep divisions on the issue within the association.

BSA announced in April that it would propose to members of its National Council at a meeting in Texas later this month of lifting the ban on gay youth scouts, but maintaining a ban on gay adult leaders.

The proposal will be put before the 1,400 members of BSA’s National Council in Grapevine, Texas on Thursday.

It suggests a compromise to allow openly gay scouts but not leaders, which angered equality leaders.

Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) said: “It falls short of ensuring equality for gay scout leaders.

“Unitarian Universalists remain hopeful that there is still time to persuade the BSA to move from discrimination and prejudice to inclusion and respect for all Americans who wish to participate in scouting.”

Earlier this month, the Western Los Angeles branch of the BSA voiced its opposition to the discriminatory policy.

The council is backing a resolution which states that no youth or adult should be excluded “as a leader, volunteer or staff member solely based on their sexual orientation or preference.”

A Washington Post-ABC News poll from earlier this month shows 63% of Americans support allowing gay scouts to join the Boy Scouts of America.

Earlier this week Liberty Counsel lawyer Matt Barber tweeted a cartoon which suggests that if the BSA lifted its ban on gay scout leaders gay men will use the position to sexually abuse scouts.