The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) on Friday proposed ending its ban on openly gay scouts.

The proposal from the BSA's executive committee would keep the current ban on openly gay adult leaders.

The proposal is expected to be presented to the roughly 1,400 voting members of the Scouts' National Council when it meets next month.

“If approved, the resolution would mean that 'no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,'” BSA spokesman Deron Smith said. “The BSA will maintain the current membership policy for all adults.”

Rick Jacobs, founder and chair of LGBT rights group, called the proposal a good first step.

“Despite the efforts of a vocal minority, from politics to business to culture, we are seeing a rapid and historic shift towards equality for all,” he said in a statement. “The Boy Scouts are now beginning to catch up with this reality. This is yet another step in the right direction towards ending discrimination against LGBT youth across this country. Yet, the Boy Scouts need to go further and end all discrimination within their organization. Discrimination and hatred have no place in a country founded on the principles of liberty, justice and equality.”

A plan to lift the national ban on gay scouts and leaders and allow local chapters to decide the issue came under heavy criticism from conservatives in February, prompting the BSA's National Executive Board to cancel a closed-door vote on the issue and move the debate to its national meeting, which opens on Monday, May 20.

(Related: Boy Scouts survey asks: Is it OK to discriminate against gays?)