17-year-old Ryan Andresen fulfilled all the requirements to earn his Eagle Scout award, including his final project of building a "tolerance wall" for victims of bullying like himself, but his Scoutmaster would not sign off on honoring him - all because he is gay.
Ryan, who has faced bullying because of his sexual orientation, was shocked at his Scoutmaster’s stance, prompting his mother Karen to start an online petition calling for her son to receive his award, as many of the other troop leaders had supported Ryan's bid for the Eagle Scout ranking.
Late Thursday, Boy Scouts of America said in a statement that because of Andresen's sexual orientation and because he did not agree to Scouting’s principle of "Duty to God," “he is no longer eligible for membership in Scouting.”
According to NBC News:
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," “he is no longer eligible for membership in Scouting.”
The Boy Scouts of America have a longstanding policy denying membership to gay leaders and Scouts, which they reaffirmed earlier this year after a two-year confidential review of the controversial ban. The Scoutmaster for Troop 212 in Moraga, Calif., told Andresen’s father, Eric, the troop's chief administrator, on Sunday that Ryan wouldn’t be able to get the award, his mother, Karen, and Eric Andresen, 52, told NBC News.
“I want everyone to know that [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," said Karen Andresen, 49, a stay-at-home mother of three. "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.”
Ryan came out in July. Andresen said the Scoutmaster knew about Ryan's sexual orientation and had no idea he wouldn't sign off on the paperwork.
Shame on the Boy Scouts of America.
SOURCE: NBC News