The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) on Thursday agreed to end its ban on openly gay scouts.

On the opening day of its two-day meeting in Dallas, Texas, roughly 1,400 volunteer leaders from scouting's 270 councils approved the BSA's proposal. However, the organization's ban on gay adults will continue.

Outside the conference center where the national council was meeting, dozens of Christian conservatives waved flags and demonstrated against the change.

“We're trying to uphold traditional values,” Bill Lizzio, a 56-year-old scout leader from Tennessee, told The New York Times.

Opponents such as John Stemberger, who founded to lobby the Boy Scouts on the issue, argued that the change would “destroy scouting as we know it” because religious groups, which sponsor roughly 70 percent of troops, would leave the program.

“The new proposal requires every scouting unit to foster open homosexuality amongst its boys,” Stemberger argued in an appearance on CNN. “And that just disrespects the religious faiths and traditions of the vast majority of churches that sponsor these units.”

However, support grew after the Mormon Church and the Roman Catholic Church pledged not to leave the program if the proposal was approved.

The new rule takes effect January 1.

(Related: Ahead of Boy Scouts vote on gay ban, James Dale says stories make an impact.)