Boy Scouts of America board members are expected to vote today on whether to end a longstanding ban on gay membership

Leaders of the youth organization have been meeting privately at a hotel near Boy Scouts headquarters in Irving,Texas since Monday. A decision on the ban, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2000, is expected today.

The organization announced in January that it was considering removing a national membership restriction based on sexual orientation and allowing local chapters to decide on the issue themselves. If the national ban is lifted, they say, local chapters, 70 percent of which are chartered to religious organizations, would be free to accept members and adult leaders in a fashion consistent with their beliefs.

Supporters of the ban plan to hold a prayer vigil outside of Boy Scout headquarters today, while activists opposed to the policy continue to pass around petitions and pres corporations to withhold contributions to the Boy Scouts organization until the ban is lifted.