The Mount Diablo-Silverado Boy Scout Council has approved a gay Scout’s Eagle application after more than 460,000 people joined his mother’s campaign on Change.org, despite the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy.
  • Despite national anti-gay policy, Boy Scout council in California approves gay Scout’s Eagle application after more than 460,000 people join a mother’s campaign on Change.org;
  • Karen Andresen launched petition in support of her son Ryan after his Scoutmaster refused to sign off on Ryan’s Eagle application because he’s gay;
  • Ryan Andresen, an 18-year-old Boy Scout from the San Francisco area, was granted an Eagle Board of Review after his campaign was featured by Ellen DeGeneres and Anderson Cooper, and supported by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, and 32 California state legislators;

Karen Andresen launched her campaign on Change.org urging the Boy Scouts to award her son, 18-year-old Ryan Andresen, the rank of Eagle Scout after Ryan’s Scoutmaster refused to sign the Eagle application because of Ryan’s sexual orientation. On December 19, local Boy Scout leaders granted Ryan an official Eagle Board of Review, and submitted their recommendation of approval to the Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council on Dec. 31. Ryan’s application for Eagle Scout, the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank, will now be forwarded to the national organization for final approval.

“I’m just so incredibly happy for Ryan. He’s worked so hard for this honor, and as a mother, it means the world to me to know that our local Scouting community believes in him, too,” said Karen Andresen, who launched the petition on Change.org. “Regardless of what the BSA’s National Advancement Team decides to do with his application, this victory makes it all worth it, and gives me so much hope for the future of the organization.”

Bonnie Hazarabedian, the volunteer District Advancement Chair who headed Ryan Andresen’s Eagle Board of Review, verified that Ryan’s application had been approved at the local district and council levels, and issued the following statement:

“Ryan did everything right in this process, with respect and honesty, requesting an Eagle Board of Review under disputed circumstances when his Scoutmaster refused to sign the application. Following BSA advancement policies in such situations, we felt an Eagle Board of Review was justified. As we do with all Eagle candidates, volunteer Scout leaders --- parents ourselves of current or former Scouts --- met with Ryan to review and discuss his scouting history and advancement records, his Eagle Leadership Project, and his spiritual beliefs and life goals. We are convinced that Ryan has demonstrated he deserves the rank of Eagle Scout.”

Approval from the Eagle Board of Review overrides Ryan’s Scoutmaster at Troop 212, Rainer Del Valle, who still hasn’t contacted the Andresen family or issued a statement about his refusal to sign Ryan’s Eagle application. Ryan had completed all of the requirements for his Eagle Scout Award while still a member of BSA and before his 18th birthday, including a capstone project where he worked with a local middle school to build a permanent “Tolerance Wall” to raise awareness about bullying.

“I want other gay Scouts to know, especially those who are hiding who they really are, that this win is for you. Thank you to everyone who joined my mom’s campaign. Your signatures made this possible,” said Ryan Andresen. “It’s been a wild and exhausting ride. I’m really looking forward to life getting back to normal, and to being able to focus on my final year of high school and completing my college applications.”

GLAAD -- which broke Tyrrell’s story in April, sparking a national dialogue about discrimination in the Boy Scouts -- joined Wahls and Scouts for Equality in celebrating news of Ryan Andresen’s Eagle application approval.

"Councils across the nation are rejecting the Boy Scouts' grossly discriminatory ban on gay scouts, echoing the support of fellow scouts, business leaders, and the American public,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “How long can the BSA go on ignoring its own members and its core values of fairness, leadership and integrity? The growing number of councils welcoming gay scouts and leaders reminds BSA autocrats: change will come with you, or without you."

For more information visit petition on Change.org
 


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