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(NEW YORK) — The Boys Scout of America (BSA) Wednesday officially ended its 103-year ban on allowing openly gay youngsters to join the organization, which also sets the stage for 17-year-old Pascal Tessier of Bethesda, Md., to become an Eagle Scout.

Tessier was on his way to achieving the long sought-after rank until he admitted his sexual orientation last year.

Now, with the change of BSA policy instituted last May, the high school senior will become an Eagle Scout on Jan. 15.

The Boy Scouts’ policy toward gay members still maintains certain restrictions in that scout leaders and adult volunteers who are not heterosexual are still forbidden from joining.

Meanwhile, boys who are openly gay are also not permitted to promote political causes, a policy that covers heterosexual scouts as well.

There was something of an uproar after the rules changed, with various churches refusing to work with the Scouts, spurring fears that the organization might be damaged by the controversy.

However, widespread defections have yet to materialize.  The BSA is trying to downplay any controversy, stating, “While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting.”

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