SEE ALSO: Decision on gays could preserve Boy Scouts' funding from United Way

Hello, Scouts - welcome to 21st century America.

The Boy Scouts of America's executive board is expected to vote in the coming days on dropping its long-held, controversial policy barring homosexuals from its ranks.

It's a surprising move, considering the board just last year upheld the policy after a two-year review.

But it's the right move, one that would realign the Scouts with supporters who, like a majority in this country, have discarded such prejudices.

While the Scouts were clinging to their policy, even winning a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court case that officially recognized its right to discriminate against someone whose conduct is "inconsistent" with its values, most Americans were moving on.

Polls show attitudes toward homosexuals evolving.

In 1996, for example, an overwhelming majority - 68 percent - opposed gay marriage, according to a Gallup poll.

Today, 53 percent support it, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll last month. Nine states and the District of Columbia already have approved same-sex marriage.

During the last election, Maryland, Maine and Washington became the first states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote, rather than legislative action.


That same night, a number of gay and lesbian officials were elected, including Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin, who will become the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate.

For many people, it's just not an issue anymore.

Even the Department of Defense recently dropped its long "don't ask, don't tell" policy, allowing gays and lesbians to finally serve their country without hiding who they are.

When someone's willing to fight and die for you, what does their sexuality have to do with it anyway?

The Scouts' executive board is expected to vote on the change as early as next week. If approved, it would be up to the individual religious and civic groups that sponsor troops to decide for themselves if they want to include gays in their ranks.

The Boy Scouts of America have lost support of schools, businesses and other organizations that have non-discrimination policies over the years.

It remains to be seen if these proposed changes would satisfy groups like the United Way, for example.

That charitable organization has been pulling financial support for Scout troops across the country because of their discriminatory policy.

The York-area council of Boys Scouts of America was told late last year the United Way of York County planned to cut its funding when their current agreement expires in 2016 - unless the Scouts changed their policy in the meantime.

It would be a tremendous hit for our local Scouts.

We can only hope the executive board approves the changes, and the local council does the right thing once it's free to act.