AUSTIN -- With a 60 percent vote, the Boy Scouts of America National Council approved a resolution removing the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone. It takes affect January 1, 2014.
That decision affecting more than 2.5 million scouts in the U.S. has drawn strong reaction on both sides of the argument.
"I'm very disappointed. I had been counting on the BSA to protect our children and this resolution will leave them unprotected. It exposes them," said Scout troop leader David Metcalf.
For the mother who started the petition last year after being forced out as leader of her son's Cub Scout pack, the vote is a small victory.
"This is what we've been working for. It's a small step in the right direction but it's huge in another way," said Jennifer Tyrell
Central Texas scout leaders gathered to talk about the vote Thursday night.
"I don't think that it will affect the troops at all,” said Assistant Scout Master Nick Trierweiler of Austin. “I don't think there will be very much change at all."
There are more than 24,000 scouts and 7,000 adult volunteers in Central Texas.
"We have all known that there have always been gay kids in our program. Today's decision just means that those same youth members don't have to feel as if they're not wanted, " said Scouts Capitol Are Council spokesman Charles Mead.
That is, unless they aspire to be a scout leader. The 60 percent vote doesn't lift that part of the ban.
For Tyrrell, the fight will go on she said.
"Obviously we've got a little work to do until I can join and families like ours can join the scouts but we couldn't be happier that they are finally moving in the right direction," she said.