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The Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday delayed a decision on whether to allow gays to join the outdoors organization, saying it needed more time due to the "complexity" of the issue.
The Boy Scouts, a 103-year-old institution separate from the Girl Scouts of the USA, said a vote on whether to end a ban on openly gay members and adult leaders would not take place until an annual national meeting in May.
The Scouts' executive board had met Wednesday to discuss the issue, leading to speculation it might vote to reverse its policy.
After, it issued a statement saying that "after careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization..., (it) concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time."
"The approximately 1,400 voting members of the National Council will take action on the resolution at the National Annual Meeting in May 2013," the statement said.
The Scouts -- with 2.6 million boys in its membership ranks -- are under heavy pressure to abandon rules against open homosexuality.
President Barack Obama said Sunday in an interview aired right before the Super Bowl that "nobody should be barred" from the youth group.
On Wednesday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a prominent backer of same-sex marriage, added his voice.
"Discrimination against gays in the Boy Scouts, I think, is wrong and I think they'd be well advised to eliminate it," he told reporters.
With New York among the growing number of US states allowing gay marriage, and Obama ending the ban on gays serving openly in the military, the Scouts appear to find themselves increasingly behind the times.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found that voters across the country are 55 percent in favor of an end to the Scouts' ban, with only 33 percent against.
There was a notable gender gap in the poll, with 61 to 27 percent in favor of ending the ban, but men split 49 to 39 percent.