Friday, October 5, 2012
Ryan Andresen, 17, had recently completed the requirements to earn his Eagle Scout award which included his final project of building a “tolerance wall” for victims of bullying like himself, but his Scoutmaster would not sign off on honoring him with the Boy Scouts’ highest ranking because he is gay, his mother said.
And late Thursday, the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement that because of Andresen’s sexual orientation and that he did not agree to Scouting’s principle of “Duty to God,” but the Boy Scouts of America didn’t stop there. They said “he is no longer eligible for membership in Scouting” due to his sexual orientation.
The Boy Scouts of America have a longstanding, viciously homophobic policy denying membership to gay Scouts, which they reaffirmed earlier this year after a two-year confidential review of the controversial ban. The Scoutmaster for Troop 212 located in Moraga, CA (a San Francisco suburb), told Andresen’s father, Eric, the troop’s chief administrator, on Sunday that Ryan wouldn’t be ineligible to get the award, his mother, Karen, and Eric Andresen, told NBC News.
Karen Andresen, 49, a stay-at-home mother of three, said:
“I want everyone to know the Eagle award] should be based on accomplishment, not your sexual orientation. Ryan entered Scouts when he was six years old and in no way knew what he was. I think right now the Scoutmaster is sending Ryan the message that he’s not a valued human being and I want Ryan to know that he is valued and that people care about him.”
Karen, who had started an online petition calling for her son to receive his award, said some other troop leaders had supported Ryan’s bid for the Eagle Scout ranking.