(CNN) – A poll released Wednesday showed a majority of American voters think the Boy Scouts of America should lift their ban on gay scouts and scoutmasters, the same day the group delayed a vote on the ban until May.
The Quinnipiac University survey indicated 55% of respondents said the ban should end, and 33% said it should remain in place. There was a gap among man and women in the poll – 61% of women supported allowing gay members, while 49% of men supported such a move.
Differences also emerged among religious affiliation. White Catholics supported ending the ban 63%-25%, while white evangelical Protestants said the ban should stand, 56%-33%.
"Now that the Armed Forces ban on openly gay service members has been lifted, and polls show increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage, most American voters think it's time to open up the Boy Scouts too," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said of the poll.
Quinnipiac's survey also showed a dip in the percentage of Americans who participate in scouting programs. While 54% of the voters surveyed said they were in the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, only 36% said their children participated.
The Boy Scouts executive board was slated to vote on lifting the ban Wednesday, but delayed the decision, saying it needed more time to get input from its members. The full national council, which numbers more than 1,400, will vote on lifting the ban in May.
The issue has sparked an array of organizations to voice their opinions, with some conservative groups worried that allowing gays would erode the Boy Scouts' moral message, and gay rights groups saying the ban amounts to discrimination.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted from 1,772 registered voters nationwide by telephone from January 30 to February 4. The sampling error was plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.
CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
What's the big deal? I always THOUGHT they were open to gays. I didn't join when I was 10 because of what I heard the jerks did in a circle.
Everything in this country should not be decided by polls. The Boy Scouts is a private organization and the government and Obama have no right telling them who can and cannot be in their organization.
Scouting organizations use military reserves, federal and state parks and monuments. Do we really wish our pubic lands and places to be used by groups that discriminate- where might that lead?
I dont force religion on anyone Al. The point is that the left always pushes an agenda, i.e. gun control – if your state doesnt want guns good for you, no religion – great, you have those freedoms and if your alternative lifestyles feel a need to start an organization to meet their needs go for it, but dont make your business my business, i.e. if you like fudge on your hotdog...enjoy but keep it in your house. I dont.
"Some of the comments like the one below are totally missing the mark. The Boy Scouts does not teach hate. The Boy Scouts teach independence. You know how to think and take care of yourself?
If they want to be an insular private organization that teaches hate, then so be it"
If you believe that teaching discrimination and exclusionary policies that are based on someone's sexual orientation, or based on any other indelible trait that a person has no control or choice over adn is simply part of what defines them...if you believe that's not teaching hate, then you're a very sad and confused person.
the boy scouts is the holy grail for the Mormon church. To denie a boy his eagle scout badge is terrible .
"Declining memberships, losing money, major lawsuits, covering up for pedophile criminals, badmouthing anyone that does not agree 200% – yes, such a moral upstanding organization – NOT."
Wait a second...I thought we were talking about the Boy Scouts here, not the Catholic Church.