The 17-member executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has unanimously approved a resolution that seeks to end its ban on gay adult leaders and volunteers.

A second vote by the 80-member National Executive Board, scheduled to take place July 27, is needed before the blanket ban is officially lifted.

If the new policy is approved, local scout units will be allowed to decide the issue for themselves.

“This change allows Scouting's members and parents to select local units, chartered to organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families,” the BSA said in a statement. “This change would also respect the right of religious chartered organizations to continue to choose adult leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, criticized the plan, calling it a “half step.”

“The vote by the executive committee to recommend that gay, lesbian and bisexual adults be allowed to work and volunteer for the Boy Scouts is a welcome step toward erasing a stain on one of our nation’s most storied organizations,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “But writing in an exemption for troops organized by religious organizations undermines the potentially historic nature of today’s vote.”

“As we have said countless times, half measures are unacceptable and discriminatory exemptions have no place in the Boy Scouts. It's long overdue that BSA leaders demonstrate true leadership and embrace a full national policy of inclusion that does not discriminate against anyone because of who they are,” Griffin added.