Boy Scouts to Start Allowing Gay Scouts on New Year's Day

12/30/2013 at 08:00 AM EST

Boy Scouts to Start Allowing Gay Members Jan. 1
A sign outside the Boy Scouts of America's National Office in Irving, Texas
Tom Pennington/Getty
New Year's Day 2014 will be a historic one for the Boy Scouts of America.

It'll be the first day that the organization will allow openly gay Scouts within its ranks.

The BSA has already faced a backlash over the decision – some churches have dropped their sponsorship of Scout units, and the move has prompted a group of protesters to organize a conservative alliance, Trail Life USA, in response.

However, the BSA hasn't seen any major exits by protesting members, and larger sponsors like the Roman Catholic and Mormon churches are standing by the BSA.

"There hasn't been a whole lot of fallout," Brad Haddock, a BSA national executive board member who chairs the committee charged with implementing the new policy, told the Associated Press. "If a church said they wouldn't work with us, we'd have a church right down the street say, 'We'll take the troop.' "

The BSA has already released materials addressing "complications" that may arise: Policies on gay tentmates, group showers and whether or not Scouts can march in gay pride parades are all new ground for the organization.

Though Haddock anticipates "isolated pockets" of problems, he says the transition should go smoothly.

"My hope is there will be the same effect this Jan. 1 as the Y2K scare. It's business as usual, nothing happens and we move forward."

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