Boy Scouts Consider Ending Ban on Gays

RENO, Nev. -- A vote from the Boy Scouts of America to end the ban on gay membership has been delayed to at least May. The board had been expected to vote Wednesday to see if the the ban on openly gay members will hold.

The decision has stirred a national debate and could affect the local chapter.

Like his two older brothers, Tyler Mason was a scout all his life, from his humble Cub Scout Beginnings to becoming a topped-rank Eagle Scout.

"I had a great time with my brothers,watching my brother go through it all and also, my mom and dad were heavily involved, so it was great to have the family value of going," he said.

Honesty and trust are values Tyler and the Boy Scouts of America were taught from the very beginning, but until recently, he head a secret that kept him from honoring the Scout's Oath.

"I am homosexual so that's been an adventure and I've had great support through it all between my family and my friends and I haven't experienced anything too negative," he said.

Sexual orientation was never a focus in his troop and he feels it wouldn't have made a difference even if he had cam out then.

"We're all there to accomplish and instill these principles that make your quality of life better and make you a better person, that's where the focus needs to be."

The Boy Scouts of America has been an American Tradition for more than 100 years, but it hasn't been for everyone. That all could change by the end of the year if the vote passes to life the ban on gay membership.

"It's supposed to be about people accepting and bringing people in and being family-like and being devoted to God because that's what Jesus would want."

The stakes are higher because a vote could mean a drop in membership and it could deepen the divide between liberal and conservative church groups that run the Boy Scouts of America.

"We want to teach young men and women the values that help them make ethical decisions over a lifetime which is our mission," Keith Ashby, Boy Scouts of America Nevada Scout Executive said.

The Nevada area council says local organizations don't have a say in the decision, but it wouldn't affect the mission of the Boy Scouts of America.

"Whether a leader is gay or not, I don't think, will be a factor at all because everyone will work together to make sure the kids will have a good experience....lifting the bad is what the scouts are all about anyway," Brett Mason, former scout leader said.

Tyler says he attributes his successes and lessons to the scouts.

"I'm a better person because of it in society."


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