Ryan Andresen is reportedly being denied the highest honor of the Boy Scouts organization for being a homosexual. The longtime scout member claims that his scout leader refused to give him the Eagle Scout award, despite Ryan taking part in the extensive service project required to achieve the rank, reports Yahoo News
"He said he can't because Ryan said he is gay," Karen Andresen, the scout's mother said, according to Yahoo News. Ryan alleges that his sexual orientation was known by the scout leader prior to starting his project "tolerance wall," and necessary paperwork.
"He had been telling me all along that we'd get by the gay thing," Ryan supposedly said to Yahoo News. "It was by far the biggest goal of my life. It's totally devastating."
The news comes as the boy is about to turn 18-years-old, which ABC notes is the cut-off date in becoming an Eagle Scout. Ryan joined Boy Scouts when he was 6-years-old, according to his mother.
Ryan thought of “Tolerance wall” after years of being bullied at middle school in Moraga, Calif. and even at Boy Scout summer camp. He was reportedly given the homophobic nicknames “Tinkerbell,” and “F-----,“ according to ABC
"I had I had no idea what gay was at that point," Ryan said when talking about hazing from other boys at his Scouts camp, which including having the gay slur “f—“ written across his chest, ABC reports. “It was really embarrassing and humiliating…. I was terrified."
Ryan’s mother was so devastated by the actions of the Scouts that she started a petition on Change.org. “Boy Scouts: Don't let your anti-gay policy deny my son his Eagle award” is the petition which hopes to help Ryan reach the prestigious rank.
“Ryan is now a senior in high school, and just completed the final requirements to earn his Eagle Award. He's an honor student with great SAT scores, who's hoping to attend the University of San Francisco,” the petition description says. “But because he recently came out to his friends and family as gay, leaders from our local Boy Scout troop say they won't approve his Eagle award.”
The petition letter states:
“I'm urging leaders from Troop 212 to reject the Boy Scouts of America's discriminatory anti-gay policy and to give Ryan Andresen the Eagle award he's earned.
Ryan joined the Boy Scouts when he was just six years old, and since then, he's dreamed of earning his Eagle award -- the highest rank in the Boy Scouts.
Ryan is now a senior in high school, and just completed the final requirements to earn his Eagle Award. He's an honor student with great SAT scores, who's hoping to attend the University of San Francisco. But because he recently came out to his friends and family as gay, leaders from your troop say they won't approve his Eagle award.
This is unfair and wrong.
A Scout earns his Eagle by earning many badges, completing all lower Scout rank requirements, and carrying out an approved final project. So Ryan decided to build a "Tolerance Wall" for his school, to show bully victims -- like Ryan -- that they are not alone. Ryan worked countless hours with elementary students to amass a wall of 288 unique tiles, all illustrating acts of kindness.
Many troops around the country are standing up, choosing to reject the Boy Scouts' discriminatory policy. I sincerely hope that Ryan's troop -- Troop 212 -- will become one of them.
"Citizenship in the Community," a merit badge earned, means standing up for what is right, and I am proud of Ryan for doing just that. Will you stand with him, too?
Deron Smith, a Scouts national spokesman claims that Ryan didn’t receive the high honor because of the scout’s views on the religious beliefs of the Boy Scouts of America (BFA). Smith said that a belief in a higher power is crucial for a scout, and necessary for anyone to reach be given the Eagle Award.
"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," Smith allegedly told Yahoo News. "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."