Boy Scouts face 14 weeks of heavy pressure before planned vote on whether to ease ban on gays

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For the next 14 weeks, the Boy Scouts of America will be the focus of prayers, petitions and pressure tactics aimed at swaying a vote on whether to ease its ban on gays as scouts or adult leaders.

The decision will be made in late May by the roughly 1,400 voting members of the BSA's National Council. The Scouts' executive board had been expected to rule on the membership policy Wednesday, but instead said more time was needed for deliberations.

At stake is a proposal to ease the ban, allowing sponsors of Scout units to decide for themselves whether to admit gays. Gay-rights groups say no units should be allowed to discriminate. Some conservative religious leaders and advocacy groups want the ban to stay in place nationwide.