The Boy Scouts of America have voted to end a long-standing ban on gay youth members.
Over 60 per cent voted in favour of overturning the ban at the annual meeting held in Texas.
The issue split religious groups who sponsor scout groups and activists who wished to see discrimination along lines of sexual orientation removed, to bring them in line with the army. The decision came after weeks of lobbying from both sides.
A ban on openly gay members over the age of 18 remains in place, though rights activists hope that this will soon be lifted.
The change will come into effect in January 2014.