Teenager Denied Eagle Scout Award Because He's Gay
Once An Eagle, Always An Eagle?
Since its introduction 100 years ago, the rank of Eagle Scout has represented the highest honor the Boy Scouts of America can present to its members. Unless you're gay, in which case you get no medals and are banned from scouting.
17-year-old Ryan Andresen completed all of the requirements to become an Eagle Scout -- including rising through the Boy Scout ranks, earning an extra 21 merit badges and completing a final project: a "tolerance wall" to help victims of bullying -- but the Boy Scouts have denied him the award because he is gay.
In a statement, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) says it has declined to sign off on the award because of Andersen's sexual orientation and because he did not agree to the scouting princliple of "Duty to God."
Andersen's mother, however, says the BSA is setting a dangerous example by continuing to preach intolerance.
"I want everyone to know that [the Eagle award] should be based on accomplishment, not your sexual orientation. Ryan entered Scouts when he was six years old and in no way knew what he was," she said.
"I think right now the Scoutmaster is sending Ryan the message that he's not a valued human being and I want Ryan to know that he is valued ... and that people care about him."
The BSA has continually denied or revoked membership due to sexual orientation, and some sponsors are starting to get fed up. To voice your own disgust with the BSA's discriminatory policies, and to help Andersen get his Eagle badge, sign this pledge.