MORAGA, Calif. (AP) — A San Francisco Bay area teenager has become the latest Boy Scout to be kicked out of his troop because of the organization’s national policy of excluding gay members and adult troop leaders.
Ryan Andresen’s mother, Karen Andresen, launched an online petition this week to get the master of her son’s Moraga-based troop to sign-off on a project that would allow the 17-year-old to become an Eagle Scout before he reaches the cutoff age of 18 next week.
She said the Scoutmaster refused to approve the project, a tile wall with an anti-bullying message, after Ryan came out as gay in a letter to his troop in July, NBC News reported.
The boy’s father, Eric Andresen, resigned his spot as troop administrator after the Scoutmaster informed him he would not approve the project needed to his “Citizenship in the Community” badge, Karen Andresen said.
Ryan installed the tile wall at his former middle school, where he says he was bullied because he was perceived to be gay.
The family no longer is granting interviews because they have a deal with a national television network that prevents them from speaking to other media.
Boy Scouts of America spokesman Deron Smith said the organization doesn’t ask members about sexual orientation, but enforces the gay ban when individuals make statements outing themselves.
“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,” Smith said of Ryan’s ouster.
Smith also claimed that Ryan had “notified his unit leadership and Eagle Scout counselor that he does not agree to scouting’s principle of “Duty to God,” another condition for being an Eagle Scout.
The teen’s mother disputed that assertion in a statement Friday.
“Ryan has never said that he does not believe in a higher power, and the only reason he’s being denied the rank of Eagle is because the Boy Scouts of America has a problem with Ryan being gay,” she said.
Boy Scouts of America leadership reaffirmed the organization’s long-standing ban on participation by gays and lesbians in July. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the group’s right to have the ban in 2000.