NEW YORK — The Boy Scouts of America has reaffirmed its longtime policy of barring openly gay boys from membership and gay or lesbian adults from serving as leaders. The decision, announced Tuesday, came after what the organization described as a wide-ranging internal review and despite public protests.
The exclusion policy ‘‘reflects the beliefs and perspectives’’ of the organization, the Boy Scouts said in a news release from its national headquarters in Irving, Texas.
“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 Bob Mazzuca, the chief Scout executive, according to the statement.
Under growing public pressure to reconsider the issue, in 2010 the Boy Scouts formed a committee of 11 ‘‘volunteers and professional leaders to evaluate whether the policy was in the best interests of the organization,’’ the statement said. The committee ‘‘included a diversity of perspectives’’ and engaged in ‘‘extensive research and evaluations,’’ the statement said.
Gay-rights groups, which for years have pressed the Boy Scouts for change, said the organization was out of step with society.
‘‘The Boy Scouts of America is one of the last cultural institutions to have discrimination as part of their policy,’’ said Richard Ferraro, representing the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.