Local California Scout Chapter Challenges National Ban on Gays by Approving Ryan Andresen’s Eagle Scout Application

Andresen

A California Boy Scouts chapter is challenging the national Boy Scouts organization after it approved gay scout Ryan Andresen's application for Eagle Scout status and forwarded it to the umbrella organization for approval, Reuters reports:

"From what I understand, this has never happened before," Eric Andresen, father of former scout Ryan Andresen, told Reuters.

"It's the first in-your-face (challenge)," said Bonnie Hazarabedian, who chaired the Boy Scout district review board that signed off on Ryan's Eagle scout application and forwarded its recommendation last week to the national headquarters for final approval…

…"I don't think sexual orientation should enter into why a Scout is a Scout, or whether they are Eagle material," said Hazarabedian. "We felt without a doubt he deserved that rank."

The Boy Scouts of America did not respond immediately to questions emailed by Reuters on Monday afternoon. At the time Ryan's case grabbed attention last fall, BSA spokesman Deron Smith issued a statement saying Andresen's Boy Scout membership had been revoked.

GLAAD adds:

Ryan was refused the Eagle status last year after coming out as gay. Because the BSA has upheld its discriminatory ban, 18-year-old Ryan was told he was ineligable for the BSA's highest honor, despite years of scouting and his completion of an anti-bullying project. In response, Ryan's mom, Karen Andresen, started a Change.org petition that has since received more than 450,000 signatures calling for her son to be given the same opportunities as other Boy Scouts.

"Councils across the nation are rejecting the Boy Scouts' grossly discriminatory ban on gay scouts, echoing the support of fellow scouts, business leaders, and the American public,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “How long can the BSA go on ignoring its own members and its core values of fairness, leadership and integrity? The growing number of councils welcoming gay scouts and leaders reminds BSA autocrats: change will come with you, or without you."

Comments

  1. jim says

    when i was a scout, more than 70% of troops met in churches that don’t accept homosexuality. The Catholic church and the Mormon church. The BSA is stuck between a rock and a hard place because if they were to officially accept gays, they’d very likely lose their charters… so… what to do?

    I know that there should be no cost worth discriminating against people, and I don’t condone their policy, but if my perception is the case, I understand.

  2. Will.i.am says

    Then perhaps let individual chapters set their own policy on admitting gays as an initial step? Not ideal, but no one really wants to see young people disadvantaged because of the removal of funding.

  3. Fahd says

    This is a struggle that is just beginning, because of the religious organizations involved. Also, a Supreme Court case will have to be overturned or disavowed by the Scouts themselves.

    Even though anyone who has ever been involved in Boy Scouts knows that there are many “gay” things about it, BSA open acceptance of gay members is at least a decade away. The BSA hierarchy is disproportionately Mormon after all.

    So, my heart goes out to this pioneering scout. I feel he himself will be disappointed by an intransigent hierarchy.

    I know he will appreciate that his story is a necessary part of rehabilitating an organization that could offer healthy and constructive opportunities for education and fun to young men, especially if it did not have its current homophobic taint.

  4. Pete N SFO says

    I am (was) an Eagle Scout. The troops need to look for other places to meet; Episcopal vs. Catholic Churches.

    Problem is, nationally, a lot of funding comes from Mormon & Katholic Khurches & those folks actually believe there’s something wrong w/ gay people.

    Today, not only would I not be a member, I could not condone anyone I know becoming a member… and don’t get me wrong, Scouting was a huge & positive element of my youth that I’m grateful for every day.

    It’s sad & I cannot wait for them to change.

  5. BETTY says

    I agree there are many other less hostile churches out there that would gladly let them meet. What about community and rec centers? Does it necessarily have to be a church?

  6. UFFDA says

    This is one of the many ways that change comes, people break unjust and intolerable rules until an untenable structure caves. That’s what’s happening.

  7. Paul R says

    I guess that it depends on the area, because when I was a Scout we never met in a church. Always community center, private homes, football stadiums, the woods…

    Congratulations to Ryan, though it’s unfortunate that in that photo it looks like he has his hands down his pants.

  8. Rick says

    “Congratulations to Ryan, though it’s unfortunate that in that photo it looks like he has his hands down his pants”

    From the looks of it, that would be a nice place to put one’s hands……what is with all the stories featuring cute boys today?

  9. illinoisguy1000 says

    It is fairly clear that his hands are not in his pants–not in his pockets, and not down the front of his pants. His hands are crossed; it is possible to determine even with the presence of the shadow.

  10. Rick says

    “It is fairly clear that his hands are not in his pants–not in his pockets, and not down the front of his pants. His hands are crossed; it is possible to determine even with the presence of the shadow”

    Oh, stop being such a spoilsport. (LOL) And even if his hands are crossed, they are in a very “strategic” location, making one wonder whether he is trying to cover up an involuntary “woody”. Mmmmmmmm…..

  11. Paul R says

    I’m not trying to attack him. I realize that his hands are crossed and not down his pants. Sheesh.

    Can someone explain why his kerchief is being held by a Coke ad?

  12. says

    “Also, a Supreme Court case will have to be overturned or disavowed by the Scouts themselves.”

    No, the Supreme Court case simply said that the Boy Scouts of America, as a private organization, has the right to set its own membership eligibility requirements. So there is nothing to be “overturned” or “disavowed”. They simply CHANGE their membership eligibility requirements. Simple, though I’ve read the other comments, and sadly, they’ve backed themselves into a corner that will prove difficult to find their way out of.

  13. billl says

    I was a scout, and I am 58 now. I have been gay since birth, but never came out until 1973. It is amazing that so many really young people are coming out very early. I wish him well, and the tens of thousands of others! He is fortunate to have so much support!

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