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?