Was a Boy Scout Denied an Award Because He’s Gay?

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David Manning / Reuters

A San Francisco-area Boy Scout says he has been denied the organization’s most prestigious award because he is gay, Yahoo News reports. 

Seventeen-year-old Ryan Andresen’s troop leader informed him that despite completing the requirements to be an Eagle Scout, he could not earn the honor because of his sexual orientation, Andresen’s mother told Yahoo. Andresen said his troop leader was aware of his orientation before he began applying for the rank.

“He had been telling me all along that we’d get by the gay thing,” Andresen told Yahoo. “It was by far the biggest goal of my life. It’s totally devastating.”

Andresen joined the Boy Scouts when he was six years old, but on Monday he will turn 18—the cut-off age for receiving the Eagle Scout award.

In order to earn the distinction, scouts must reach five ranks, obtain 21 merit badges, maintain a leadership position for six months and complete a service project.  For his project, Andresen worked with students to construct an anti-bullying “Tolerance Wall” at his local middle school, which comprises 288 ceramic tiles depicting acts of kindness, Yahoo notes.

(MORE: The Boy Scouts of America Has It Backwards)

Andresen’s mother launched a petition on Change.org to convince her son’s scoutmaster to change his decision before Andresen’s birthday. The petition has over 150,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon.

“It hurts me so much to watch Ryan suffer for being who he is, because to me, he’s perfect,” she wrote on the website. “Ryan has worked for nearly 12 years to become an Eagle Scout, and nothing would make him more proud than earning that well-deserved distinction.”

Deron Smith, the national spokesman for the Boy Scouts, said on Thursday that Andresen does not abide by the organization’s religious principles.

“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 wrote in a statement to 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.”

In July, a committee of BSA leaders concluded unanimously that the organization would continue its policy of excluding homosexuals. The policy was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2000, but many companies have cancelled donations in protest.

(WATCH: Boy Scouts lose United Way funding)

Andresen came out to his troop in a letter he wrote in July to address a bullying incident because he “thought he could help,” his mother told ABC News. Andresen himself had been bullied, and after he left the Boy Scouts for a few months because of the vicious teasing, his scoutmaster, Rainer Del Valle, encouraged him to return and complete his service project. Now, however, Del Valle will not provide the final signature for Andresen’s award, ABC News reports.

40 comments
Talendria
Talendria

Is it just me or does this article fail to mention that the Boy Scout in question told his troop leader that he's now an atheist?  The article makes it sound like the only reason the boy was denied his award was due to his sexual orientation, but in reading other articles from apparently more objective news sources, it's plain that there was more to it than that.  Biased reporting really ticks me off.

Matthew Keyser
Matthew Keyser

This is sad. As a straight man who was a Boy Scout throughout my childhood, I will no longer be supporting the Boy Scouts of America. The values I learned as a Boy Scout have nothing to do with sexual orientation. It was about community, banding together, and achieving our best. Those values are applicable to everyone, gay or straight.

Carlos Decourcy Lascoutx
Carlos Decourcy Lascoutx

...founded by the gay island nation, Brittania. now the boy will know no matter how

hard he tries, his preference will bar him from achievement with his peers, that

his scout leader is a bigot, that San Francisco is a 2-faced city, and America is not

the home of the free, nor the brave.

pachelbels
pachelbels

BSA  ... what a phony bunch of homophobic twits.  Such hypocrisy!  All sponsors and affiliated organizations should look long and hard at this holier-than-thou outfit.  And this from a straight guy ...

John Gochnauer
John Gochnauer

Did he join the Boy Scouts knowing that he violated one of their key principles?

Jeff Miller
Jeff Miller

 He joined when he was 6 years old.

begerman
begerman

Hey, Time editors--the headline of this piece is misleading: it implies there is any question that BSA refused to let this kid be an eagle scout, and their quote confirms that. It should, in all honesty, be "Boy Scout denied an award because he is gay." Questioning headlines like that are a pretty spineless way to hint at a "controversy" without taking sides, but there's no doubt here.

steelsil
steelsil

'When I became a man, I put away childish things.'  Don't  be disappointed, the opprobrium  of the American Taliban is of no importance. 

Talendria
Talendria

That's terrible.  It's one thing to bar homosexual adults from serving as mentors, but it's another thing to discriminate against children who couldn't have known their sexual preference when they joined the Scouts.  I think this was their jump the shark moment.  They're going to lose a lot of support over this decision.

Edit: After hearing more about this story, I have to rescind my earlier comment. The child seeking his Eagle Award is not only gay but also an atheist, which is an obvious affront to Scouts as it has always been a Christian organization. Is it too much to ask that these purported news outlets could give us the whole story instead of relaying only the facts that support their agenda?

Bruce Thompson
Bruce Thompson

 And why is it okay to "bar 'homosexual' adults from serving as mentors?" And we know just about as much about our "sexual preference" as any other child. It just isn't encouraged, validate, or affirmed.

Talendria
Talendria

I think the adult policy is defensible for the same reason that Hooters doesn't hire flat-chested girls.

Money Loo
Money Loo

It's against their business model? Seriously, how is discrimination based on sexual preference ever okay? Who gives a fuck when where why or how you fuck. Jesus Flippin Christmas this shit needs to end already.

bebo
bebo

Let's see... what can you write about the Mormons?   Rich, but won't stay that way? Interesting.  Your focus should be on Reverend Wright, and President Obama's change of lingo and delivery when addressing the congregation?  That's a story.  I can't think of any prior President's who have done that?  Really instills trust.   I'm not so worried about the Mormon Church.  The incredible changing Obama is much more interesting.

RockyMissouri
RockyMissouri

Look in the mirror and see your biggest problem....!

bebo
bebo

Let's kiss "bully" goodbye in 2013.  It was one of 2012's most over used words.  Wasn't too prominent in the 20th Century, but it rates "played to death" now.  And while I'm at it "bigot" could join it.  That word has been co-opted by the gay community as a response  to anything and everything.  And lastly "troll"  It's for the hypersensitive online player who can't defend themselves, or don't agree with a prior comment.  They can all go  -- please.

RoyalBrougham
RoyalBrougham

Your brain is fried. Sorry.

JBfromNC
JBfromNC

No. It is perfectly logical. If we eliminate those two words, then bebo can go bully whoever he is bigoted against without fear of opprobrium.  That is almost the same as not being a bigoted bully.

Oh. Maybe not. Yep, fried.

bebo
bebo

I't's amazing  how you write a comment and it disappears.  Talk about bias reporting.  If you prefer to defend a sexuality that is centered around the male behind, be my guest.  I can only conclude your comment editors are gay.  I pity that Boyscout.  He has yet to endure something they don't give out badges for.  But let's not talk about that.

Fatesrider
Fatesrider

 Actually, bebo, if you stuck to just writing A comment (as in one), then likely it wouldn't have disappeared.  But you run your mouth and spam the boards so they do what any organization who has terms of service that have been violated does - they delete them.

However, your repeated writings are quite revealling.

I know this is going to be hard for you to accept, but your ardent hatred of gays is likely because you, yourself, are gay.  It's a proven fact that a lot of the shrillest anti-gay voices out there are in extremely deep denial due to the consequences of their true homosexual orientation among their family, friends and peers.  Given the imagery you used in your writing, your focus on the back-side of a male and the penetrating sex act among homosexual males appears to cross the border into an actual obsession with you. 

As a straight man, those are the LAST things I would focus on, let alone write about.  It's likely you can't help yourself because testosterone is a strong hormone affecting your sex drive and sexual imagery.  What you write about with such disdain is in all actuality exactly what you desire sexually.

It would appear, from your repeated writings along this line, that you should probably visit a therapist to deal with your repressed sexuality.  Chances are that you will live longer acknowledging your true sexual orientation than if you continue to experience the kind of rage and stress you apparently do as you suppress it.

Just thought you should know.

RockyMissouri
RockyMissouri

Shame on you... Didn't anyone care enough about you to teach you any manners...???

bebo
bebo

Sometimes any gay discrimination story is all a liberal magazine has to hold on to.

bebo
bebo

Do gays  have to infiltrate every part of society?   This gay movement is too in our face.  It's "just sex" if you call  it that.  It's a biological dead end. Sometimes a gay discrimination story is all a liberal publication has to hold on to.

Dang Ph
Dang Ph

Boy Scout is becoming a sect-ed organization and absorbing inward more and more. With the time, only religious extremists likely to join.

Mary Alice Richert
Mary Alice Richert

The Boy Scouts need the Susan B. Komen trearment.....Total shunning and not one cent in support. Do theses guys get ANY federal money? They are today's KluKlux Klan, only today  it's OUR kids who are wearing the sheets. The BSA needs to either lose its homophobic ways or go the way of the Klan. Why do we, in 2012, even have to talk about these nasty people? Whoever allowed a once proud and well-regarded organization for young men, turn into a factory for bias and hatred against our own, has left the BSA an embarrassment, an organziation  bereft of reputation and honor, today looked on as more Hitler Youth than BSA.

billeeboy
billeeboy

Obviously it is time for progressive parents to start an alternative scouting organization that will accept anyone regardless of religion (or lack thereof!), race, nationality, sexual orientation, etc. Let the bigoted BSA starve for members until, like the Crusaders of the Middle Ages (who they seem to have adopted as their training model), they simply disappear!

AnnieOakley2011
AnnieOakley2011

May Karen Andresen become to the Boy Scouts of America what Rosa Parks became to Black America:  a symbol for "enough is enough"!

bojimbo26
bojimbo26

God loves everyone : religion doesn't .

Lianne O'Brien
Lianne O'Brien

I think that the BSA is an organization which has outlived its usefulness , (at least as it is currently organized).  These people knowingly allowed pedophiles to lead troops.  I am disgusted, and would NEVER allow any child of mine to participate.

LadyeCatte
LadyeCatte

I signed the petition days ago.  Every time I see the BSA discriminate "in the name of God", I put a bit more money away to buy more Girl Scout cookies next year.  (I give them away at work.. diet, y'know..)

It does break my heart to walk past the young Boy Scouts when they're out at Wal-Mart, but I refuse to contribute to bigotry.

Gary McCray
Gary McCray

The Boy Scouts has a long and unapologetic history of anti-gay sentiment and practices.

This is just another sad step in their anti-gay campaign.

At the same time they so strongly claim to support American values and fairness.

Their hypocrisy makes me ashamed to have been a boy scout.

AMP
AMP

The system is failing us. All around us there are institutions (Armed Forces), organizations (NOM), and individuals that continue to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Let's repeal DOMA and strike all language in the US Constitution that lends itself to such a henious act.

AMP
AMP

Where ever there is discrimination because of sexual orientation, there are real people hurting. This must be stopped.

Douche_Baggin
Douche_Baggin

Yeah, hang your bigotry on God. God deserves better than the Boy Scouts.

sgreco1970
sgreco1970

So tired of America's renewed love of religion, racism and discrimination against gays. For a short time there it felt like we really were a land of equality -that's evaporated for sure now.If you want to see gays end up like the jews in nazi germany, be sure to vote Romney. He and the rest of the GOP will have us a nazi regime within 4 years.

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

As an Eagle Scout myself (1966) I am appalled and angered by this discrimination.