A spokesperson for the Boy Scouts of America announced Friday that the group intends to drop its ban on openly gay members. According to Reuters, however, the Scouts' ruling board must still vote in May whether to ratify the end of the discriminatory ban.

If the ruling goes through, said spokesperson Deron Smith, "no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone."

Smith said that the organization based its decision on months of careful research and discussion, and that the issue of LGBT inclusion is "among the most complex and challenging issues facing the BSA and society today."

Boy Scouts of America has been caught in the crossfire between conservative corporate and religious sponsors who oppose the inclusion of gay scouts and rights groups and psychologists who insist that it's the only fair course of action, to treat gay scouts equally.

According to the Associated Press, the Boy Scouts' National Council consists of about 1,400 members and will meet in Texas on May 20.

[image via spirit of america / Shutterstock.com]