The Boy Scouts of America has announced it will retain its longtime policy of barring openly gay boys from membership and gay or lesbian adults from serving as leaders, The New York Times reports.

Since 1991, the organisation has adopted a platform which states that homosexuality is “inconsistent with the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed”.

In a news release from its national headquarters in Texas, it said the policy “reflects the beliefs and perspectives” of the organisation.

“While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society,” said chief Scout executive Bob Mazzuca.

“The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers, and at the appropriate time and in the right setting.”

The group had spent two years reconsidering the ban and was presented with a 275,000-signature petition last month asking for it to be dropped.

In 2008, the US Supreme Court ruled that the organisation could legally bar gay leaders and said the Scouts should not be forced to “accept members where such acceptance would derogate from the organisation’s expressive message”.

A lesbian den mother from Ohio, Jennifer Tyrrell, was ousted from her position in April this year after her sexuality became known. A regional official resigned in protest at the expulsion.

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