Former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates appointed to lead Boy Scouts of America
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.
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