The Boy Scouts of America has approved a proposal to end a ban on openly gay scouts.
The vote by more than 1400 members of the organisation's national council came amid intense lobbying by gay-rights activists and members of conservative organizations.
The resolution will go into force on 1 January, 2014.
The change does not remove the organization's ban on gay adult leaders.
The organisation has 2.6 million boys in its membership.
A statement said: "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone."