East Bay News

Gay teen denied Eagle Scout honor

Thursday, October 04, 2012

A Moraga teenager is fighting to fulfill a dream. He desperately wants to become an Eagle Scout, but he's being denied that chance. ABC7 News take a look at why the Scouts have said no and why so many are now fighting on his behalf.

Ryan Andresen, 17, of Moraga did everything he was supposed to do to become an Eagle Scout. He earned the required number of badges and completed the daunting final project just a couple weeks ago.

He calls it "a tolerance wall" which now hangs prominently at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School. It's composed of 288 tiles, each with an anti-bullying message illustrated by school children.

"The school approved this project because we felt it promoted a positive message of student safety and respecting all differences," said assistant principal Brad Carn.

But the Boy Scouts of America is denying Ryan Eagle Scout status because they found out he was gay. His mother is now trying to convince the organization to change its anti-gay policy through a petition she posted on Change.org. In just two days, the petition has received tens of thousands of signatures.

Troop 212 meets at a red building on Moraga Way. We've been told everyone who's affiliated with the local Boy Scouts of America has been issued a gag order, which explains why no one has returned our calls.

But Scout executive John Fenoglio did release a statement, which said, Ryan "does not meet Scouting's membership standard on sexual orientation."

Ed Hazarabedian became an Eagle Scout in 1975 and finds the Boy Scouts' policy disappointing. He knows Ryan and his family.

"To not get it based on, for lack of a better word, a technicality, that has nothing to do with his progress and path to get to this point? Yes, that's frustrating," said Hazarabedian.

Ryan and his family plan to tell their story on national television next week.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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