After many years and much controversy, the Boy Scouts of America is close to ending its ban on gay members, scouting officials and other sources tell NBC News. The new policy being considered would dump the ban from the national organization's rules, but local chapters would still have the freedom to decide whether to accept gay scouts. Then parents "would be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families," says a spokesperson. Discussions are in their final stages, sources say, and if the board of directors approves the change, it could be announced as soon as next week.
After the Boy Scouts reaffirmed its ban on gay members in July, local chapters started voicing concern and asking the board to reconsider. Says an official, "We're a grassroots organization. This is a response to what's happening at the local level." Mitt Romney and President Obama both opposed the ban during the presidential campaign. UPS pulled funding over the ban, as did about 50 local United Way groups and other corporations and charities. (Read more Boy Scouts of America stories.)