At an annual meeting of the Boy Scouts of America, the group's president called for an end to the nonprofit's blanket ban on gay adult leaders, The New York Times reports.
The president, Robert Gates, a former CIA director and the former secretary of defense, warned scout executives that "we must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be" and that "any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement," according to the Times.
Mr. Gates requested that the Scouts' governing body take up his proposal at a future meeting.
The group has faced criticism for its policies on sexual orientation for some time and has seen a decline in membership. In 2013, the governing body voted to lift a ban on openly gay youths, while maintaining the ban on gay leaders. Some groups have openly defied the ban.