Early reaction to the delay from gay-rights supporters was harshly critical of the BSA.
"A Scout is supposed to be brave, and the Boy Scouts failed to be brave today," said Jennifer Tyrrell, a Ohio mother ousted from her post as a Cub Scout volunteer because she's a lesbian. "The Boy Scouts had the chance to help countless young people and devoted parents, but they've failed us yet again."
Brad Hankins, campaign director of Scouts for Equality, said the delay would have a direct impact on young men already in the scouting movement.
"By postponing this decision, thousands of currently active Scouts still remain uncertain about their future in the program and are shamed into silence. We understand that this change is a huge paradigm shift for some, but this isn't a religious issue. It's simply one of human morality, and that is something common to all faiths."
A handful of Scouts and leaders delivered petitions to the BSA headquarters on Monday in support of letting gay members join.
Shortly after the delay was announced, conservative supporters of the ban held a rally and prayer vigil Wednesday at the headquarters, carrying signs reading, "Don't Invite Sin Into the Camp," and "The only voice that matters is God!"
One protester, Maggie Wright, 67, from Burleson, said she was disappointed that the movement didn't decide straight away to maintain the ban. She said she has two grandsons who are active in the scouting movement, one aged 11 and a 20-year-old Eagle Scout, and that she is concerned about homosexuals teaching the young men.
"We're not condoning or hating," she added.
President Barack Obama, an opponent of the policy, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, an Eagle Scout who supports it, both have weighed in.