Gay Scout, Approved For Eagle Honor Despite Group's National Ban
In what may be a precedent-setting decision, a California chapter of the Boy Scouts of America has approved a gay former member's Eagle Scout application, despite the national organization's ban on gay participants.
Ryan Andresen, 18, was a scout from the San Francisco area when he was denied his Eagle Scout award in October 2011, NBC News reports. Andresen had come out in July and had completed all the requirements for the Eagle honor, including helping spearhead the construction of a “Tolerance Wall” at a local middle school to raise awareness about bullying.
But Andresen's troop leader refused to grant him the award. Frustrated, his mother, Karen Andresen, launched a Change.org petition in support of her son.
The petition received overwhelming support from 463,151 signers. In addition, California Senator Barbara Boxer and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom sent letters to the Scouts in support of Andresen.
Then, in December, local Boy Scout leaders approved an official Eagle Board of Review. Their decision in favor of Andresen was announced January 7.