The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) on Monday ended its ban on openly gay adult leaders, employees and volunteers.
More than 79 percent of the National Executive Board members present and voting backed the change, which takes effect immediately.
The change in policy would still allow troops run by churches to "choose adult leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own," according to an internal memo.
"There are differences of opinion, and we need to be respectful of them," Michael Harrison, a leader from California, told The New York Times. "It doesn't mean the Mormons have to pick a gay scoutmaster, but please don't tell the Unitarians they can't."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) criticized the move, saying in a statement that it was "deeply troubled" and that its "century-long association with Scouting will need to be examined."
Zach Wahls, executive director of Scouts for Equality, praised the move.
"This vote marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Boy Scouts of America. Tens of thousands of people came together because they wanted to build a better future for the Boy Scouts of America, and that future starts now. ...As of this vote, the Boy Scouts of America is an organization that is looking forward, not back."