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Mom Says Gay Contra Costa Teen Denied Eagle Scout Opportunity

Update: Change.org petition urges 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.

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."

This article originally appeared on Lamorinda Patch.

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Renae Wilber October 05, 2012 at 04:59 AM
Hi Ryan, we share the same birthday! I have not supported the Boy Scouts for years because of their hypocritical nature and lack of respect toward the gay community. I find it horrible that you have worked so hard with such passion, only to have Troop 212 stand behind intolerance and rejection. I do hope you know that the work you have done in and of itself is something to be very proud of. You have set an example for the thousands of students who will appreciate your wall of tolerance; who will learn to tolerate because of it, and who will feel acceptance because they know they are not alone. Stand tall. Many of us stand behind you and you can proudly stand on your own, with or without the Boy Scouts.
Frank Darling October 05, 2012 at 05:31 AM
Ryan, I live in Orinda, am an Eagle Scout, have been a Scoutmaster and a local commissioner. I am willing to assist in this effort if I can. I will leave it at that for now. Let me know if I can assist and how I can get in touch. I am not gay but this issue with the Boy Scouts must change.
Eagle Candidate Mom October 05, 2012 at 05:32 AM
Ryan- My son's birthday was a couple of days ago, so completing eagle requirements has been a big issue with us, too. If you have all the signatures for your proposal on page 10, and your beneficiary has signed off that the project is complete, You can go around your leader. Look at the last page of your eagle workbook- It tells you how to move forward and request a board of review , or even a disputed board of review if you don't have your leader's approval. I would first go to your Council or District Project Approval Representative, and see if they will help you find another leader to sign off on your project. They cannot ask you about your sexual orientation. So if you really want the Eagle award because you earned it, you can probably still get it. If you are out to make a huge political statement- then you may be in a difficult spot. It's up to you. My son is really concerned for you- It's a lot of hard work to go unrewarded... We both wish you luck!
Cheri Huber October 05, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Ryan - I find it outrageous that your Scout Master won't sign off on your thoughtful Eagle Scout project! i stand behind you and I'm sure 99% of our community does as well! You are an asset to your community and the future generations that will hopefully lead our country in equality for all. Keep fighting-the-good-fight and happy almost 18th birthday!

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