Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Defying National Organization, California Chapter Of Boy Scouts Of America Recommends Openly Gay Ryan Andresen Be Awarded Top Rank Of Eagle

In California, an openly gay former Boy Scout whose attempt to gain Eagle rank was blocked has gained the support of a local review board, but their decision may not help him reach his goal. Ryan Andresen, 18, of Moraga, was expelled from scouting last year after he informed his scoutmaster that he objected to the organization's "Duty to God" requirement and that he was gay. An Eagle Board of Review -- a group of volunteers who weigh a Scout's request for Eagle status -- agreed to take Andresen's appeal December 19, and submitted a recommendation for approval to the Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council on December 31. However, that recommendation still requires approval by the local council executive, John Fenoglio. He said Tuesday morning that Andresen's submission was still ineligible and would not be forwarded to the national organization for final approval. Fenoglio said there was no further venue of appeal for Andresen. Deron Smith, director of public relations for the Boy Scouts of America, said in a statement that "the Eagle application was forwarded ... to the local council but it was not approved because this young man proactively stated that he does not agree to Scouting's principle of 'Duty to God' and does not meet Scouting's membership requirements. Therefore, he is not eligible to receive the rank of Eagle." Andresen could not be reached for comment Tuesday. In a statement provided by Change.org, which hosts the online petition, the former scout said that "I want other gay Scouts to know ... that this win is for you." A petition supporting Andresen's quest to attain Eagle rank, posted online days before his expulsion, has gained the support of almost 500,000 people, including Sen. Barbara Boxer and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

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