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Almost-Eagle Scout denied award because he is gay

Posted by on Oct. 5, 2012 at 8:27 AM
  • 7 Replies
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"I want everyone to know that [the Eagle award] should be based on accomplishment, not your sexual orientation. Ryan entered Scouts when he was six years old and in no way knew what he was," said Karen Andresen, 49, a stay-at-home mother of three. "I think right now the Scoutmaster is sending Ryan the message that he's not a valued human being and I want Ryan to know that he is valued ... and that people care about him."

Ryan, 17, came out in July. Andresen said the Scoutmaster knew about Ryan's sexual orientation and they had no idea he wouldn't sign off on the paperwork.

It was "a total shock," she said, adding that Ryan was led all along to believe he would be able to get the award.

The Scoutmaster did not immediately respond to a phone call and email seeking comment.

But a spokesman for the Boys Scouts, Deron Smith, told NBC News in a statement that Andresen recently "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. While the BSA 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."

Karen, who had started an online petition calling for her son to receive his award, said some other troop leaders had supported Ryan's bid for the Eagle Scout ranking.

To earn the Eagle rank, which is in its 100th year, Scouts must progress through five lower ranks, earn 21 merit badges and serve six months in a leadership position, among completing other tasks. More than two million young men have earned the rank.

Courtesy of the Andresen family

Ryan Andresen stands in front of a "Tolerance Wall," his final Boy Scouts' project that he worked on with school children. It consists of 288 tiles that depict acts of kindness.

Dozens of Eagle Scouts said in online postings after the Boy Scouts, a private organization, reaffirmed its policy banning gays that they had returned their medals, badges or membership cards in protest. But many other Eagle Scouts said they agreed with the policy. At the time, BSA spokesman Deron Smith said there were no plans to revisit the membership guidelines.

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Gay mom upset after dismissal by Boy Scouts

Activist groups stepped up their campaign to end the policy after Jennifer Tyrrell, den leader of her son's Tiger Cub pack in Bridgeport, Ohio, was removed from her post in April because she is a lesbian.

A number of troops have said they don't follow the policy, and some companies and charities have recently said they would not contribute to the Boy Scouts because of the ban.

Technology giant Intel Corporation recently told NBC News that since Jan. 1 it has required troops and councils to sign a document verifying that they comply with their non-discrimination policy in order to receive donations. The United Way of Greater Cleveland, which last year gave nearly $100,000 to the Boy Scouts of America, Greater Cleveland Council, recently said under its new diversity policy that the local chapter would no longer qualify to receive such funding.

by on Oct. 5, 2012 at 8:27 AM
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Replies (1-7):
LyTe684
by Tasha on Oct. 5, 2012 at 8:32 AM
I wouldn't want an award nor to be associated with those assholes.
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Courtney610
by Courtney on Oct. 5, 2012 at 8:34 AM
This is why my boys aren't Boy Scouts. I just can't support an organization that would deny an award, based on sexual orientation.
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atlmom2
by Susie on Oct. 5, 2012 at 8:37 AM
I don't agree, but why did he even join knowing their stance?
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Punkie74
by on Oct. 5, 2012 at 8:37 AM
See, what annoys me is this... The Boy Scouts are a privet organization that have never hidden the fact they don't approve of gays in their organization. Yet people pretend to be all shocked when something like this happens. Don't like their views? Don't be a part of it or support them.
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dommad2
by on Oct. 5, 2012 at 8:41 AM
This exactly. My son will never be part of it since we don't agree with it but it is their tight as a private organization.

Quoting Punkie74:

See, what annoys me is this... The Boy Scouts are a privet organization that have never hidden the fact they don't approve of gays in their organization. Yet people pretend to be all shocked when something like this happens. Don't like their views? Don't be a part of it or support them.
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kitty8199
by Nicole on Oct. 5, 2012 at 9:01 AM
He was 6 when he joined

Quoting atlmom2:

I don't agree, but why did he even join knowing their stance?
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kitty8199
by Nicole on Oct. 5, 2012 at 9:03 AM
I wanted to do scouts but now as As an adult seeing how they are my kid won't be joining
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