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.

Home Town Native October 04, 2012 at 09:43 PM
The Boy Scouts have Rules, your son violated those rules, thus, your son doesnt become an Eagle Scout. The Boy Scouts HAVE LONG AGO MADE IT CLEAR, by fighting all the way to the Supreme Court 12 years ago to keep its rules intact. Your son joined AFTER that case and you and he knew the rules. Boy Scouts v. Dale (2000) http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1999/1999_99_699 If you despise the Boy Scouts Rules so much, why be a part of their organization. The Boy Scouts and half this country do not accept open homosexuality, that is THIER RULES, and it is THIER ORGANIZATION. They have a Constitutional RIGHT to have these rules. You DONT have a right to FORCE them to change them. Go start your own organization WITH YOUR RULES!
Mother of a boy scout October 04, 2012 at 11:06 PM
My son is in the Boy Scouts, he was enrolled at age 6 as a tiger cub. I believe at that age a boy does not know their sexual preference. As a boy grows with this organization they become part of a family. And time passes they discover their sexual preference and find out they are breaking the scout rules. There family (Boy Scouts) at that time should accept who they are instead of abandoning them. I wonder if the top organizers have these same rules in their household pined on the refrigerator, Rule #1 – if you are gay/lesbian then you will no longer be a part of this family JUST GET OUT. I would be so hurt as a parent if my son was kick out of an organization for who he is, not knowing this when he first became part of the group. He has been part of the Boy Scouts longer than he has been gay!!!! Shame on the people who judge you for your sexual preference and abandon a boy who is doing good for the world around him.
Home Town Native October 05, 2012 at 12:46 AM
If my son said he was gay, I would say keep it to yourself, I dont want in my household, and if he insisted on openly talking about his perverted sexuality to my other children in my home, he'd be out on his ass where he would be free to do what he wants on his terms! Now, YOU dont have to run your household that way, I am sure ou wont, and if you want to form the "Gay Scouts of America," I dont think Anyone should try to change YOUR rules! However, people like you want to force the Boy Scouts to conform TO YOUR WARPED MORALITY - Shame on YOU for trying to make people accept a behavior that they consider immoral.
Jeffrey Thompson October 05, 2012 at 03:26 PM
But the Boy Scouts of America have no problem harboring men who molest children. It's really sad that "religious" or "religion based" organizations constantly call into question everyone else's morals, when they really should be tending their own garden.
Pete Mock October 05, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Ryan Andresen, it takes a exceptional kid to become an Eagle Scout. Congratutions to you for all the things you've accomplished! Whether you have a badge or not, they can't take away you all the things you've gained by working hard for your goals. The knowledge, the character, the people you have postively effected with your projects, that's all yours forever. And your parents rock for standing proud with you and shining a bright light the sad, archaic BSA policies that live in the bigotry of the past. Pete Mock Bloomfield, NJ
Jeff Calhoun October 05, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I agree with Home Town Native. Let the boys scouts of america continue to run their organization how they see fit. And let's watch as more and more of their funding fall by the way side. Intel gone, United Way gone. They have every right to discriminate against gays in their private club. And we have every right to say SHAME on you and to not participate in their organization. It my take ten or twenty years but they will change their policy. If not they will eventually become irrelevant.
Pete Mock October 05, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Wow Home Town, the level of hatred that one must possess to abandon a child for that, or any reason, is beyond my understanding. It's a sad and empty soul that would turn away his own child. I hope that you are not a parent, and if you are I truly feel for your children.
Pete Mock October 05, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Indeed Jeff, membership is at it's lowest point since the 50's and continues to declines, and the money problems they've had the past few years are only going to get worse as these sexual abuse cases take their toll on the bottom line. Even if they change their policies they may still not survive as an organization.
Ann T. October 05, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Home Town Native, I completely agree with Mr. Mock. If you are a parent I pray for your children, but I also pray for you. My God taught me to love one another, and even when those in my own faith claim to follow that while ostracizing the same individuals, I shake my head. Yes you are allowed your opinion. Your hate though... Who hurt you that you feel no compassion for others? But maybe it is just a case a social Darwinism in action. Evolve or die off.
cholland October 05, 2012 at 05:41 PM
home town native, you are a piece of work. you're the one with warped morality.
Evan Yeung October 05, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Mr. Ryan Andresen, Congratulations on completing the requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout. Regardless of the "official" stance of the BSA, you have worked hard for that accomplishment and no one can take that away from you. Some 20 years ago, I wrote a letter to the NESA in protest of their justification of their anti-gay stance. It was signed by six of my Eagle Scout colleagues. As it turned out, a number of them came out of the closer many years later. You are not the first gay Eagle Scout candidate. Nor will you be the last. Unfortunately you have been placed in a position where you have had to be true to who you are or to hide part of yourself to others. You have not chosen the safe path, but you have chosen the more courageous one. Ironically this is one of the main qualities that the Boy Scouts tries to foster in its members. I wish you best of luck in your future endeavours. Evan K. Yeung Eagle Scout Class of 1987
Christopher Sullivan October 05, 2012 at 06:37 PM
This is so sad, my Heart cries out to him. I was a Cub Scout and then a Boy Scout. When I was old enough to become a Scout, I joined the Salvation Army Boy Scouts.. Wow! I was a Catholic!, the disturbance in both my family, and the Church. I persevered and stayed in the Salvation Army Boy Scouts. The experience I gained there was to set me in good stead as I joined the Royal Navy, it shaped my life and chartered the rest of my life. (Now 79 yrs). Surely in this century we should move on, we have excepted the various differences in Race and Religion, the basis of our Founding Constitution is that of tolerance, not Bigotry.
Martin Kapff October 05, 2012 at 06:49 PM
This is why I will never give a penny to the Boy Scouts.
J. P. October 05, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Native Son, I wouldn't worry about your son coming out as gay, he's probably having too much fun in the Hitler Youth group you enrolled him in. My heart is broken for this kid and the cruelty this group visited upon him. For those who truly believe the Boy and Eagle Scouts have a right to discriminate against homosexuals, ask yourself why they recruit boys at 6 years old. If they really wanted to be so segregationists (as the, umm, law allows them to be....thanks Supreme Court!) then shouldn't they make it easy on themselves and only recruit teenagers who at least might have some idea about their sexual preferences? Instead, being as exclusive as they are fosters a cultish environment...learn our ways, love us, but u less you conform you are valueless and OUT. Pathetic.
eicy October 05, 2012 at 08:31 PM
I find it ironic that Ryan's project was a "tolerance wall". It was approved by the leadership & advisor; perhaps they should look up the definition of "tolerance". Ryan earned all his badges, moved up the ranks and fulfulled an eagle required project and associated paperwork. HE DESERVES HIS EAGLE RANK - The BSA should adhere to the scout oath themselves. I will no longer donate money to BSA
Ram425 October 06, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I have read your other comments and feel real sorry for you. Your level of hatred is scary, makes me wonder if you are mentally or emotionally sane for saying that you would abandon your son, the child you gave birth to because of his sexual orientation. Can you look into your son's eyes and tell him to leave your home because he is different than you. Would your heartache to know if your child is safe. I wonder... I also wonder if you ever bonded with your children if you have any, being a hard ass in life gets you nowhere....
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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