A new poll of Americans has found that while a majority support gay rights, adoption and marriage,  most are opposed to gays serving as Scout leaders.

Results from the USA Today/Gallup survey of over 1,000 adults across the US in November, show that a majority (53%) favour the legalisation of same-sex marriage, and 63% believe that discrimination against gays and lesbians is a serious problem.

Between 77% to 78% feel that gay and lesbian domestic partners or spouses should have inheritance rights and health insurance and other benefits.

And a majority (61%) say gays and lesbians should be able to legally adopt children.

“Americans are slightly more supportive of inheritance rights, employee benefits, and adoption rights for gays and lesbians now than they were in May 2009,” when it last surveyed on the topic, said Gallup.

Bizarrely, when it comes to the issue of openly gay adults serving as Boy Scout leaders, a majority are opposed, with 53% supporting the official Boy Scouts of America policy of excluding openly gay individuals.

The policy has become a highly contentious one in recent years, leading to some corporate sponsors withdrawing their support for the Scouts and President Obama rejecting the policy.

The organisation’s position statement reads: “We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirement in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed, and that homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts.”

US courts have affirmed the Scout’s right as a private organisation to place restrictions on its membership.

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