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NEWORLEANS - The Boy Scouts of America said it needs more time for consultations before deciding whether to move away from its policy of excluding gays as scouts or adult leaders. The scouts executive board was expected to announce a policy change during a meeting that wrapped up in Dallas on Wednesday.

Conservatives, including religious leaders whose churches sponsor scout troops, warned of mass defections if the ban were eased.

Conversely, one religious leader in New Orleans, Rabbi Alexis Berk at Touro Synagogue, dropped a program with the Boy Scouts because of its anti-gay stand.

'I think there's a strand of homophobia that's running through the Boy Scouts that they can't seem to quite untangle from their fabric. What ever it takes, I don't think their fabric will unravel if you take out that strand. I'm sure there are those who think it will,' Berk said.

Scouts are expected to clarify their policy on gays during the organization's annual meeting in May.

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