Ryan Andresen's Eagle Scout Application Denied Because of His "Avowed Homosexuality"
Last month, a local Boy Scout review board bucked the national organization's intolerant policy and recommended that the Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council Boy Scouts approve Ryan Andresen's application for Eagle Scout. For the previous three months, the 18-year-old from Moraga had been denied consideration for the honor because the Boy Scouts of America don't allow gay people to be Eagle Scouts.
Next, Andresen needed a signature. Specifically, he needed Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council Scout Executive John Fenoglio to sign the application and send it off to the national organizations for final approval.
Fenoglio refused, rejecting the council's unanimous decision and officially denying Andresen Eagle Scout honors because of his sexuality. On Wednesday, Fenoglio, who is a paid employee of the Boy Scouts of America, told CNN that he denied Andresen's application because of "membership standards," specifically "duty to God, avowed homosexuality, and the fact that he is now over 18 years of age."
Andresen had fulfilled the requirements to become an Eagle Scout back in October -- from badges to a final project. But because of the Scouts' anti-gay policy, Andresen's scout master, Rainer Del Valle, did not allow him the honor.
Boy Scouts of America policy states: "While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA."
Eventually, though, word got out. Media attention, public pressure, and a Change.org petition garnering 460,000 signatures followed. Last month, a local Boy Scout review board agreed to re-examine Andresen's merits. On December 31, all four members approved his application.
At least one of those members, Bonnie Hazabedian, expected Andresen's application to at least reach the national leaders.
"Our community is standing behind Ryan Andresen," Hazabedian said, as reported by CNN. "When I dropped off Ryan's unanimously approved Eagle Board of Review application and report on December 31, Mr. Fenoglio looked me in the eyes, patted the stack of papers, and said, 'We'll sign it and send it on, but can't promise what will happen from there.' I'm totally perplexed by this statement from Scout Executive Fenoglio, a man I greatly respect and admire."