Update on Jan. 10: John Fenoglio, a Boy Scout executive with the Mount Diablo Silverado Council, has overridden the council’s approval of Ryan Andresen’s application for Eagle Scout status.
Scout Executive John Fenoglio told KQED’s Tara Siler he would not forward the council’s recommendation to the national organization.
He told CNN Andresen was denied over “duty to God, avowed homosexuality, and the fact that he is now over 18 years of age.”
A local Boy Scout council has agreed to forward a gay man’s application for Eagle Scout status to the national organization.
Ryan Andresen’s scoutmaster initially rejected his application, but after Andresen appeared on national talk shows and his mother gathered more than 460,000 on a Change.org petition, the Mount Diablo-Silverado Boy Scout Council approved it.
From the Change.org news release:
Approval from the Eagle Board of Review overrides Ryan’s Scoutmaster at Troop 212, Rainer Del Valle, who still hasn’t contacted the Andresen family or issued a statement about his refusal to sign Ryan’s Eagle application. Ryan had completed all of the requirements for his Eagle Scout Award while still a member of BSA and before his 18th birthday, including a capstone project where he worked with a local middle school to build a permanent “Tolerance Wall” to raise awareness about bullying.
“I want other gay Scouts to know, especially those who are hiding who they really are, that this win is for you. Thank you to everyone who joined my mom’s campaign. Your signatures made this possible,” said Ryan Andresen. “It’s been a wild and exhausting ride. I’m really looking forward to life getting back to normal, and to being able to focus on my final year of high school and completing my college applications.”
Karen Andresen’s petition recruited more than 460,000 signatures and gained high-profile endorsements from California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, and 32 California state legislators. After sharing their story on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Anderson Cooper 360, Ryan and his parents delivered more than 400,000 petition signatures to the Mount Diablo-Silverado Council, where they met with Scout leaders and offered to help the council stand up against the national anti-gay policy. In December, Ryan was recognized by Speaker John Perez at the opening session of the California State Assembly.
Scouts for Equality founder Zach Wahls, who initially helped Karen launch her petition on Change.org, said he hopes this victory will embolden even more local Boy Scout councils to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s “hurtful” anti-gay membership policy.
“The Mount Diablo-Silverado Council joins a growing list of Boy Scout councils and charter organizations that are refusing to embrace the Boy Scouts of America’s hurtful anti-gay membership policy,” said Wahls. “The American Medical Association, corporate and political leaders, and countless Scouting communities across the country have spoken out against the dangers of policies that exclude gay youth and leaders. It’s time for the BSA to listen.”
Here is Andresen’s appearance on the DeGeneres show:
Bullies made Andresen miserable when he was growing up, he says. Here is the video he made to assure other gay teens that “it gets better.”