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Gay Contra Costa County Teen Rejected As Eagle Scout

The mother of a Moraga boy is fighting the 'discriminatory policy' against openly homosexual Boy Scouts, which she says is the reason her son was denied his Eagle Award. Have you ever experienced discrimination in Concord's scout troops?

Ryan Andresen has been a Boy Scout since he was six, according to his mother, and last month he was on the verge of earning the highest rank in the organization by becoming an Eagle Scout.

The high school senior completed a 288-tile wall of tolerance at Joaquin Moraga Middle School to meet the requirements for the title. But Ryan was denied the honor — and his mother says it's because he's gay.

Just after the teen came out to his family and friends, his scoutmaster refused to sign the official paperwork for his Eagle Scout Award, said Karen Andreson, who has started a petition on Change.org.

"We are all just in shock," she said.

The Boy Scouts of America recently affirmed its policy of not granting membership to openly gay recruits, claiming that homosexuality represents “a distraction to the mission” of the 112-year-old organization.

The family is 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."

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.

Have you or your child ever experienced discrimination in Concord's Boy Scout troops? What do you think of the Boy Scouts' policy against openly-gay members?

Ron October 04, 2012 at 08:25 PM
I couldn't agree more. This paleolithic attitude on the part of the scouts is truly un-american. Seems to me these illustrious scout leaders would be more at home in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia. In fact, living there, they would be free to have their gay scouts shot or beheaded.
Emily Henry (Editor) October 04, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Jessie, I have had to delete your comment due to the language. Here it is with the offending word deleted: "For the boy scouts to teach young men to be leaders and be in service to their community and then pull [DELETED] like this is so disturbing and just makes me sick. How can they do this and still call themselves leaders of the community teaching moral behavior. hate is not moral, discrimination is not moral. I don't have a kid in the scouts but I have seen many kids grow up in the scouts , they embody true leadership because they actually befriended some kids who were gay. THAT IS BEING A LEADER!! I think the adults in this organization need to take a lesson from the kids."
Lawrence L. Camarena October 04, 2012 at 08:31 PM
I know what the BSA policy is. I don't agree with it at all. Shame on the scoutmaster! Shame on the BSA! Give the young man the Eagle Scout Award! He earned it!
Gail Van Burgel October 04, 2012 at 09:48 PM
If a rule/law tells me that I cannot smoke within so many feet of a doorway and I CHOOSE to disobey that rule/law and smoke anyway, who is it that is at fault? Is it the law because smoking is legal or is it me because I chose to break it. IF everyone involved knew that this young man would NOT be allowed the award because of his sexual preference, WHY pursue it knowing his rquest would be turned down? I don't expect emotionally emboiled people to "get it" on this point, it's kind of simple and it seems that some people on earth want everything to be so complicated. Oh, it would be MY fault for breaking the rule/law.
sergio maldenado October 04, 2012 at 11:49 PM
what else would you expect from concord? remember, we're talking about t he same broken down town whose ill-trained police force wasn't even aware of a brothel operating directly across the street from their own police station for more than a year. with a crumbling school system and a declining standard of living that whole terrible place is a nightmare. these days its easier to get a hooker and drugs in that town than it is to get any decent public transportation options. also, as for the poor kid getting bullied for being openly gay at a high school in berkley? wow, so much for being a town modeled on hippie ideals. i dont know if youve been to berkley but that place is just a hyphy nightmare with a street kid reality. not to mention a poice force wih the violent tendencies to rival those of the nypds own racist force.
Emily Henry (Editor) October 04, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Sergio, this didn't happen in Concord. It happened in Moraga.
Danny October 05, 2012 at 12:20 AM
According to your logic, Rosa Parks should have just kept herself in the back of the bus!!
Ron October 05, 2012 at 01:17 AM
So if a hungry black person wants to enter a restaurant for dinner, but knows that the restaurant owner is not going to allow him in, according to your logic, the black person should not "pursue it", i.e., he should just turn around with his tail between his legs and just go away. Right?
Rick D October 05, 2012 at 03:50 PM
I think it is a shame the Boy Scouts will not bestow this honor upon someone who worked so hard to earn it. I was heavily involved in Scouting and earned my Eagle award in 1992, so I know the hard work involved. I understand the young man's point and do wish that the Boy Scouts would change their ways, but I also see the reality. They are a private club. They can admit whomever they want and exclude for any reason whoever they so choose. It is their right as a private organization. Private clubs can still bar Jewish people, African-Americans, anyone they want from joining.
Kathy D October 05, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Ryan should be awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. He earned it. He was in the scouts long before he "came out". Besides, he completed the requirements. The scoutmaster is being intolerant. I am the mother of a son who earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He was also bullied at school and in scouts (the scoutmaster's son was one of his tormentors). I signed the petition and urge others to do so.
TDC October 05, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Gail--- Smoking kills, being an Eagle Scout does not! One effects my health by possibly killing me, the other improves my mental health by allowing me to reflect on what is more healthy for me by learning tolerance. Not really a comparison.
TDC October 05, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Sergio--- Get your facts straight! And, learn how to spell POLICE and BERKELEY! Concord has alot more going for it than most cities. Obviously, you do not have a clue.
MaryAnn October 06, 2012 at 04:44 PM
The Mt. Diablo Silverado Council issued a statement Thursday about Ryan Andresen's bid to become an Eagle Scout. The Contra Costa Times reported the following: "Recently, a Scout proactively notified his unit leadership and Eagle Scout counselor that he does not agree to Scouting's principle of 'Duty to God,' and does not meet Scouting's membership standard on sexual orientation," the statement read. "While the Boy Scouts of America did not proactively ask for this information, based on his statements and after discussion with his family, he is being informed that he is no longer eligible for membership in Scouting."
MaryAnn October 06, 2012 at 04:53 PM
If he did not agree with the scouting principle of "Duty to God" why was he a scout? I don't agree with the whole sexual orientation thing but that is their requirements and apparently he knew about it so much as to go out of his way right before he got his eagle to tell them he did not agree with it. As most people have mentioned it IS a Private Club. I realize he wants their principles to change and he is proud of who he is. Good for him!! But you can't go into an organization and tell them you don't believe in their principles and expect to be accepted as a member. Sorry.

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