Ryan Andresen has completed all the requirements needed to earn the Boy Scouts’ highest honor, the designation of Eagle Scout. But when it came time for his Scoutmaster to sign off on giving the award, he didn’t, allegedly, because Andresen is gay.
NBC Affiliate KSEE reports that the Boy Scouts of America have a longstanding policy denying membership to gay leaders and Scouts. Andresen, 17, came out as gay in July, and his parents claim the Scoutmaster, Rainer Del Valle, knew of his orientation, and still they had no idea he wouldn’t sign off on the paperwork for their son to become an Eagle Scout.
“I want everyone to know that (the Eagle award) should be based on accomplishment, not your sexual orientation. Ryan entered Scouts when he was six years old and in no way knew what he was,” said Ryan’s mother Karen Andresen, 49. “I think right now the Scoutmaster is sending Ryan the message that he’s not a valued human being and I want Ryan to know that he is valued … and that people care about him.”
“(Andresen) 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,” Deron Smith, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America, told NBC News in a statement. “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.”
To earn the prestigious Eagle Scout Award, a boy scouts must progress through five lower ranks, earn 21 merit badges and serve six months in a leadership position among completing other tasks. Andresen did all that including building a tolerance wall to call attention to bullying.
His father Eric, who resigned as an assistant Scoutmaster, is appealing the decision.