Boy Scouts vote to accept gay youth

In an emotionally charged vote Thursday, the Boy Scouts of America lifted its ban on gay youth starting next January, the latest sign of a shift in American attitudes toward gays and lesbians.

After months of debate in local districts, more than 61 percent of the Boy Scouts national council approved a resolution overturning the prohibition on openly gay boys.

Gay adults will remain barred from serving as Scout leaders in a fiercely contested compromise that some warned could fracture the organization and lead to mass defections of members and donors.

Herb Williams, president of the Boy Scouts' Redwood Empire Council, which includes Sonoma and Mendocino counties, called the vote "a historic moment in our country."

"The majority of us together felt it was time, and I'm just happy that I was a part of it," Williams said.

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