Local Boy Scout organization responds to Thursday's vote

The Boy Scouts of America's national council voted to allow openly gay boys as members on Thursday.

Mississippi Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America Scout Executive Gary S. Mertz issued the following statement:

"America and our communities need Scouting, and our policies must be based on what is in the best interest of our children. We believe good people can disagree on a variety of topics and yet still work together to accomplish great things for youth. Going forward, we will work to stay focused on our mission of instilling in young people the values of the Scout Oath and Law."

Mertz could not be reached for further comment.

The change will go into effect January 1.

There is no change in the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders.