A California chapter of the Boy Scouts Scouts of America is challenging its national organization's ban on gay by recommending that a gay teen be awarded the rank of Eagle Scout.
Ryan Andresen, 18, was kicked out of his San Francisco-area troop after coming out last year. He had completed the requirements for Eagle status but his troop leader denied his application.
His mother, Karen Andresen, launched a petition on Change.org to drum up support for her son's quest which more than 460,000 people signed. This week (7 January), a local Eagle Board of Review announced that it was overriding the troop leader's initial decision and approved the teen's application.
'I want other gay Scouts to know, especially those who are hiding who they really are, that this win is for you,' Ryan Andresen said in a statement Tuesday (8 January). 'Thank you to everyone who joined my mom’s campaign. Your signatures made this possible.'
This does not make Andresen an Eagle Scout since the recommendation must still be approved by the national organization which last year reiterated its ban on gays.
'It's the first in-your-face (challenge),' Bonnie Hazarabedian, chairwoman of the Boy Scout district review board that handled Andresen's application, tells Reuters. 'I don't think sexual orientation should enter into why a Scout is a Scout, or whether they are Eagle material.'
She added: 'We felt without a doubt he deserved that rank.'