Former US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates has been chosen to lead the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) – an organisation which continues to find it difficult to accept gay people.
Mr Gates, who was Pentagon chief under presidents George Bush and Barack Obama and also led the CIA, has a long history with the Boy Scouts, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout as a young man.
If approved by a vote of the group’s national council, the 70-year-old will be president for two years beginning in May.
The law allowed gays and lesbians to serve in the military if they kept their sexual orientation a secret.
The lifting of the ban will take effect on 1 January 2014, and will mean individual scouting troops can decide on whether or not to allow gay members. A ban on openly gay adult scout leaders and volunteers remains in place.
In recent months several individual BSA chapters have criticised the compromise; the Western Los Angeles County branch of the BSA said in May the decision fell far short of gay equality.