An 18-year-old Boy Scout from Moraga, California, who was denied the Eagle Scout badge after coming out as gay, despite completing all of the requirements, has been invited onto the Ellen Degeneres Show this Thursday.
Ryan Andresen, now 18, who joined the scouts when he was six, had completed all requirements for the Eagle Scout Badge, which included building a 288-tile “tolerance wall” for victims of bullying, such as himself, but was refused the badge, once the work was completed.
Not only that, however, but Ryan, who came out in July, was also told that his scouting membership was to be revoked altogether.
Karen Andresen, 49, Ryan’s mother, had started a petition on Change.org to have her son awarded the badge, which had nearly 370,000 signatures.
Deron Smith, a spokesperson for the Boy Scouts of America, released a statement about Ryan’s coming out, saying he had: “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.”
He continued: ”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.”
In order to be awarded the Eagle Scout badge, the top rank available to Boy Scouts, they must progress through five ranks, earn 21 merit badges and serve as a scout leader for six months. Around 2 million scouts have achieved this rank.
The award-winning gay chat show host Ellen Degeneres, received good news herself recently, as she will be presented with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour, at the John F Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts in Washington DC.