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Mom Says Gay Moraga 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.

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.

Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop October 27, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Unsaid but implied......with an appropriate statute of limitations, of course.
Nathan Bell October 27, 2012 at 09:41 PM
I apologize. I should have said: I believe child molestation is heinous, bad, horrible, atrocious, villainous, damnable in all times and all places with no statute of limitations.
Ann W. October 27, 2012 at 09:43 PM
@ BethAnne we are a scouting family just like Melanie's family who does not believe in discrimination of any kind. Yes, we hope change will come from within and believe that in the words of our Scoutmasters (who also do not believe in discrimination) "One day this will change. It may not be in our lifetime, but it will change!" You need to understand that while BSA is a private organization, it's original tennants had nothing to do with discrimination. It is only due to the religious right taking over the American organization of scouting did they begin to tout a discriminatory rhetoric. There is much good about scouting and it is for that many people like my family and I gather Melanie's family choose to participate. The overt message within the Scout Law and Scout Oath are counter to discrimination. You cannot be "Kind, Helpful and Courteous" and discriminate. Those characteristics coupled with discrimination just don't jive, no matter how you look at it, private organization or not! There are huge numbers within the scouting organization that DO NOT subscribe to discrimination and unless the BSA starts to put it in written form on their applications and do a rigorous interviews for 6 y.o when they enter Cub Scouting or reapply at 10/11 y.o when boys bridge to Boy Scouts this will likely not change. Boy Scouts (a worldwide org.) was started with a wonderful mission by Lord Baden Powell.Sadly those at the top of our country's org. have tainted it w/discriminination
Karen Lewis October 27, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Jon, I'm often on the other side from you (think RLP), but it's good to be on the same side on this one!

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