TODAY | January 29, 2013
>>> boy scouts of america is on the verge of a fundamental change in its policy toward gay scouts and leaders. a move that's drawing both krifl cr cr criticism and praise this morning. good morning.
>> savannah, good morning.
>>> the board votes soon, and scouting insiders predict it will pass. it would be a fundamental change for an organization that, for decades, has fought against allowing gays in, considering such a move to be a violation of the scout oath , requiring scout s to be morally straight. if approved, a new policy would end the national ban on gay scouts and scout leaders and let local troops decide for themselves. in a statement boy scouts say members and parents would be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families. that's welcomed news to zach walls, an eagle scout from iowa, who told the democratic national convention last summer about being raised by two mothers.
>> such a ground swell of local leaders all over the country who have been calling for an end to the ban because they see how this policy is hurting their local level, as policy alienates young people .
>> reporter: anti-gay policy has prompted some big corporations, including u.p.s., to end their financial support for scouting. and some local scout leaders have pushed for a nondiscrimination policy.
>> i think it kind of caught a lot of families off guard when the boy scouts of america came out and reaffirmed their ban on gay and lesbian individuals and a lot of us feel strongly that that's not right.
>> reporter: james dale sued the boy scouts when he was let go as a scout leader after he publicly said he's gay, a case the scouts won before the u.s. supreme court . he says the new policy, which would still allow some troops to exclude gay members isn't enough.
>> boy scouts have to make sure they're teaching america and are in step with american values of equality and not discriminating.
>> reporter: more than half the nation's scouting organizations are sponsored by churches. southern baptist convention calls the potential policy change deeply disappointing.
>> we want to be respectful of everyone, but we also want respect for us, respect for those who hold to what might be called a biblical form of morality.
>> the boy scouts board meets next week in texas to vote. if the new policy is approved, it would take effect june 1st . savannah?
>> pete williams in washington, thank you.