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Mom Says Gay East Bay Teen Denied Eagle Scout Opportunity

Update: Change.org petition urges a Moraga troop to reject Boy Scouts 'discriminatory policy.' Ryan Andresen's Eagle Scout project is a 288-tile wall of tolerance at Joaquin Moraga Middle School.

Update, 12:25 p.m. Thursday, added photos of wall of tolerance at Joaquin Moraga Middle School.

When Ryan Andresen completed a 288-tile wall of tolerance at Joaquin Moraga Middle School last month, he thought he had met the requirements to become an Eagle Scout.

But, according to his mother, the scoutmaster of Ryan's Moraga Boy Scout troop is refusing to sign off on the project because Ryan 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.

Ryan's 18th birthday is Oct. 8, in a few days. The Boy Scouts have a rule that the Eagle Scout project must be approved by the 18th birthday, Karen Andresen said.

She 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."

Thanks to Patch reader Laura Goodman for tipping us to the story. Watch Patch for updates.

Andy Smith October 07, 2012 at 02:14 PM
I agree with everything you said except the "perverse lifestyle" part. The kid's gay--that's not perverse. It is what it is, and nothing more. There is definitely something fishy going on here---he didn't just happen to come out right before he made Eagle. He's doing this (I'm sure with encouragement from adults) to gain attention and to stir the pot. It's too bad he was misguided, because an Eagle Scout certification is a really great thing to have. But he decided to be a dumb liberal and to try to make a point instead of sticking with the values and policies of a group that he is voluntarily participating in.
Phillippa Joneson October 08, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I can't believe in this day and age people are so ignorant - nobody "chooses" to be gay - they are born that way - just like you're born male or female - you're born gay or straight - why can't people just understand that. What does a gay person have to do to gain respect from others - do you think they want to be outcasted by society just because.....it's the 21st century folks - it's not the 50s anymore when gay people were ashamed and hid behind a facade. Stop with the name calling - and get on with each other. And if you do think being gay is "wrong" you should be ashamed of yourselves and I hope you don't send this kind of thinking down to your children who might be gay themselves and too scared to tell you. All these teen suicides that are happening these days, I wonder how many are because they were gay and couldn't bear to tell their parents/friends. I hope one day everyone can get along - it would be a much nicer world. And no I am not gay but I do have gay friends/family.
Sharon October 09, 2012 at 02:48 AM
What happened to liberty, justice, land of the free, home of the brave, etc... I commend this young man (among millions of others) who has stood up for his beliefs. Shame on the Boys Scouts organization for not being brave enough to stand up for one of their own who has made his contribution.
Voter with an ID October 09, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Problem is, his contribution ended up being a violation of the basic by laws of the private organization he voluntarily joined. Sharon, I dare you to join dykes on bikes and rise through their ranks, only to inform them years later that you are not gay. See if you are brave enough to stand up for your beliefs.
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