Ryan Andresen, a gay teen from the San Francisco area, is not going to be an Eagle Scout.
An effort by a California chapter of the Boy Scouts Scouts of America to challenge its national organization’s ban on gays by recommending that the 18 year old be awarded the rank of Eagle Scout has failed.
BSA national spokesperson Deron Smith claimed in a statement Wednesday (9 January) that Ryan ‘proactively stated that he does not agree to Scouting’s principle of ‘Duty to God’ and does not meet Scouting’s membership requirements. Therefore, he is not eligible to receive the rank of Eagle.’
Andresen 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. A local Eagle Board of Review announced that it was overriding the troop leader’s initial decision and approved the teen’s application.
Bonnie Hazarabedian, the District Advancement Chair who headed Ryan’s Eagle Board of Review, refutes Smith’s claim and says: ‘Ryan did everything right in this process, with honor and honesty. He completed all of his requirements, he turned in his application along with the appropriate request for an appeal before an Eagle Board of Review, and he satisfied every member of the Board that he has earned the right to be recognized as an Eagle Scout. The Board reviewed all of Ryan’s scouting history, his advancement records, his Eagle project and his spiritual belief, and we are convinced that Ryan has more than demonstrated that he deserves the award.’
Herndon Graddick, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, blasted the group’s action and its statement: ‘That BSA national executives would not only thwart the approval of, but also simultaneously lie about, the Eagle badge application of a committed young Scout is not only shocking, it’s shameful. The organization continues to use smoke and mirrors to preserve an outdated policy that is wholly discriminatory and continues to erode the integrity of the organization.’