The Boy Scouts of America has a right, as a private organization, to determine its own membership standards.
Thursday afternoon the Boy Scouts of America's National Executive Board, council representatives and hundreds of charter organization partners voted to allow openly gay boys and teens to be scouts.
It goes into effect January 1, 2014.
Openly gay adult scout leaders are still banned.
Charles Mead, with the Boys Scouts of America, said, "For some families this news might be a little bit disconcerting, just because they see it as something new. in reality, the aims of the program, its mission have not changed one bit. I will add that we have all known there have always been gay kids in our program."
Veturing Scout Leader, Sharon Pruitt, said, " It just makes it very clear that we are an organization based on diversity and accepting each other for who and what we are."
A rep with the Boy Scouts of America says they anticipate a potential drop in donations because of this decision.
If an openly gay young man wants to join the scouts before the new policy is implemented, reps say they will not be turned away.