MORAGA (CBS SF) — A Moraga mother has gathered more than 100,000 signatures supporting her petition to the Boy Scouts of America to allow her gay son to become an Eagle Scout.
Karen Andresen is demanding that the organization allow her son Ryan, a senior in high school, to apply for the top Boy Scouts rank regardless of his sexual orientation. The teen recently came out to his friends and family as gay, she said in an online petition on Change.org.
Ryan’s Boy Scout troop, Troop 212, rejected the teen’s bid for the Eagle award after learning of his sexual orientation, Andresen said.
Ryan joined the Boy Scouts at six years old and has worked since then to complete all of the requirements for an Eagle award, his mother said in the petition.
“He’s an honor student with great SAT scores,” she wrote. “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.”
In order to receive his Eagle badge, Ryan built a “Tolerance Wall” for his school using tiled images featuring acts of kindness created by local elementary students, according to Andresen.
The project was meant “to show bully victims—like Ryan—that they are not alone,” she wrote.
A statement from John Fenoglio, scout executive for the Mt. Diablo Silverado Council, which oversees Troop 212, confirmed that the boy is not eligible for the Eagle award because he is gay.
“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,” the statement reads. “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.”
As of 5 p.m., Andresen’s petition drew just over 100,000 signatures from supporters throughout the country and from as far away as the United Kingdom and Belgium.