Boy Scouts of America board members are expected to vote on Wednesday on whether to end a longstanding and controversial ban on gay membership. The century-old youth organization upheld the ban just last year but faced sharp criticism from gay rights groups. The Boy Scouts touched off fierce lobbying by groups both for and against changing the policy when it said late last month that it was considering removing the national restriction based on sexual orientation and leaving the decision to local chapters. The national executive board, which lists more than 70 members, has been meeting privately since Monday at a hotel near Boy Scouts headquarters in Irving, Texas. The Boy Scouts released no details about the deliberations on Tuesday. Many local chapters have said they were waiting for the board to render a verdict before weighing in, and a coalition of 33 councils that represent about one-fifth of all youth members has asked the board to delay the vote for more study.