News (USA)

Gay teen’s hopes for Eagle Scout rank denied again, despite support

A California gay teen — who spent more than 10 years working toward become an Eagle Scout — has had his hopes dashed once again in his quest to attain Scouting’s highest honor.

The Mount Diablo-Silverado Boy Scout Council in Pleasant Hill, Calif., said it would not forward Ryan Andresen’s application for Eagle Scout on to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), despite the recommendation of a volunteer review board that voted unanimously on Dec. 31 to support the previously denied application.

Ryan Andresen
Image via NBC News

John Fenoglio, a council executive, said Ryan’s application was not approved because of “membership standards,” specifically “duty to God, avowed homosexuality, and the fact that he is now over 18 years of age.”

Andresen, an openly gay former Scout from Moraga, Calif., was denied the Eagle Scout rank in October 2012 when he was 17-years-old after his Scoutmaster declined to approve his application because of his sexual orientation.

The Boy Scout policy does “not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA,” the group’s website says.

Bonnie Hazarabedian, who chaired the Boy Scout district review board, told Reuters that the BSA anti-gay policy is “something out of the Dark Ages,” and said that Ryan’s sexual orientation was not relevant to whether he should get the award.

Ryan, 18, joined Scouting at the age of 6, and in 2012 completed the final requirements to earn his Eagle Award.

His final final project was the construction of a “tolerance wall” for victims of bullying, which was inspired by the years of hazing he endured in middle school, and later at Boy Scout summer camp, where his nicknames were “Tinkerbell” and “faggot.”

Ryan’s parents have pledged to continue to press their son’s campaign to obtain his Eagle Scout rank.

AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson, an executive board member of the Boy Scouts of America, has said he was committed to ending the ban — he takes over as president of the BSA in 2014.

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