No Eagle Scout Opportunity For Gay Teen In Moraga

Ryan Andresen's Eagle Scout project, a 288-tile Wall of Tolerance, should meet the requirements for his badge, but his mom claims the scouts are refusing because he's gay.

High school senior Ryan Andresen completed his Eagle Scout project--a 288-tile wall of tolerance at Joaquin Moraga Middle School in Moraga last month. But according to his mother, Andresen's Moraga Boy Scout troop is refusing to sign off on the project because Andresen is gay.

"We are all just in shock," said Ryan's mother, Karen Andresen.

The family has a petition drawing international attention on Change.org urging the leaders of the local troop to reject the Boy Scouts of America's "discriminatory anti-gay policy" and give Ryan Andresen the Eagle award. Ryan is a senior at Maybeck High School in Berkeley.

"It hurts me so much to watch Ryan suffer for being who he is, because to me, he's perfect," said Karen Andresen.

Ryan's father, Eric Andresen, used to do the bookkeeping for Troop 212. He resigned on Tuesday, Karen Andresen said, after Scoutmaster Ranier del Valle reaffirmed his refusal to sign off on Ryan's project.

Patch is trying to reach del Valle for comment.

Karen Andresen said that Ryan came out to his family two years ago. The idea for the wall of tolerance was a result of the bullying he experienced at school and in the Boy Scouts.

Ryan Andresen hopes to attend the University of San Francisco.

"Many troops around the country are standing up, choosing to reject the Boy Scouts' discriminatory policy," the petition statement by Karen Andresen reads. "I sincerely hope that Ryan's troop — Troop 212 — will become one of them."

The Boy Scouts of America has policies that prohibit "open or avowed" homosexual people from membership
in its Scouting program, as well as atheists and agnostics, according to Wikipedia.

One petition signer from overseas wrote on Change.org said he signed "because I am a member of the Boy Scouts in the UK and discrimination is the very thing we are taught against! Scouts are supposed to HONOUR people with ALL their differences. Not treat them like filth."

Watch Patch for updates.

Elle Di October 06, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Am I understanding that they let Ryan stay long enough to complete all the requirements and then said he wouldn't be allowed to get the award? If that is not cruel, what is. I agree that Boy Scouts are in trouble and will continue to decline. I had two girls in Girl Scouts. Girls Souts take on this is that it wouldn't come up in the conversation. Everyone is welcome and there is no need to discuss sexuality.
Michail Stamos October 06, 2012 at 01:58 AM
I was a Boy Scout on the San Francisco peninsula during my youth and although I left during high school to pursue other activities, I feel that my experiences taught me to be a better citizen and to communicate better with my peers (not to mention how to tie a mean knot - which can come in handy). I know there were other gay kids in my troup - not to mention one who did become an Eagle Scout. I am grateful for our troup leaders who had the sense to know what was really important. In the long run, I'm sure the other scouts probably knew who was gay as well. We were all good friends and had to learn to trust and rely on one another. I'll bet they grew up to be more tolerant and open-minded adults as well. The road to Eagle Scout is a difficult one - let Ryan be recognized for his efforts! M. Stamos, Edinburgh Scotland
Michail Stamos October 06, 2012 at 02:11 AM
I'm sorry, No one is more Home Town Native to San Francisco than I and I think you should be wise to temper your hatred on your fellow citizens. How dare you call yourself a Home Town Native when you know very well that the San Francisco Bay Area has been a home of tolerance and understanding well before you took your first step. In my personal experience, it was gay Eagle Scouts who molded the excellent moral fibre of the troup I grew up in. It was the gay scouts who were the ones who knew how to handle and manage adversity to make it to the rank they earned. You have a lot to learn about scouting.
Ed Batchelder October 06, 2012 at 04:44 AM
The BSA and courts are wrong.. plain and simple. Public organizations would not be allowed to discriminate in this way yet Private organizations can? Sorry.. That should not be allowed. The BSA is supposed to stand for integrity, honor, responsibility, leadership, but they don't seem to practice what they preach. Homosexuals are no less capable of these qualities then any heterosexual. They aren't denying the badge because he ISN'T any of these things otherwise they would have publically said so. Its because they, like many other dark age thinkers, believe this homosexuality is a choice and they simply don't agree with it. Clearly discriminatory. Moral and legal controversies like this is the exactly the same thing our country fought against on women's rights, and the rights of black men and women. Once upon a time, the courts backed those discriminatory practices as well until reason finally prevailed. You can argue the BSA's 'rules are rules' argument all you want but bigotry is still bigotry. Overcoming that bigotry that is a far bigger priority than whether the BSA should be allowed to continue to operate on such an philosophy. This \is that this is just the tip of the iceberg and this issue has cast a much needed light on the subject and unless the BSA changes their position, the damage to the BSA could very well be irreparable.. which is fine with me as dark ages thinking like theirs deserves every ounce of backlash that it gets.
Lori October 09, 2012 at 02:59 AM
The Boy Scout Handbook c1998 "The Meaning of the Scout Oath": "To do my duty to God" "You do your duty to God by...respecting and defending the rights of others to practice their own beliefs." "To help other people at all times:" "To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight" "To be a person of strong character, your relationships with others should be honest and open. You should respect and defend the rights of all people..." The Scout Law states "A Scout is...kind..." The Handbook (published by The Boy Scouts of America)states "He treats others as he wants to be treated...Kindness is a sign of true strength. To be kind you must look beyond yourself and try to understand the needs of others. Take time to listen to people and imagine being in their place...What can be hard[er] is being kind to people you don't know or with whom you disagree. We live in a world that has more than its share of anger, fear, and war. Extending kindness to those around you and having compassion for all people is a powerful antidote to the poisons of hatred and violence." They not only have rules, they have a Law and an Oath. What good, exactly, are the Law & Oath if the adult leaders and the Scouts do not understand and practice them themselves? They may have successfully defended a case in the Supreme Court, but have set forth certain standards which directly contradict excluding someone, being dishonest, or disrespecting others or their beliefs.


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