The movement on behalf of the Bay Area's most famous Boy Scout is gaining political momentum with some key signatures.
There are the signatures of more than 400,000 people on a Change.org petition urging the Boy Scouts not to deny Ryan Andresen, 18, his Eagle Scout badge based on his sexual orientation. And there's a letter with the signatures of 32 California state legislators, including U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, according to a press release from Change.org.
On Wednesday, Andresen, a Moraga resident, was brought to the stage by a 288-tile Tolerance Wall that hangs on an exterior wall at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School.
On Thursday, the Andresen family delivered a copy of the petition to the Mount Diablo Silverado Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Pleasant Hill.
More information from Change.org:
“Just this week, UPS said they will no longer give money to the Boy Scouts
while the anti-gay policy is in place. That’s huge!” Ryan said. “I really hope the Boy Scouts realize that this is just the beginning. Their decision to uphold this awful policy doesn’t just hurt gay Scouts like me, but it hurts the entire Scouting community. But I know that if enough of us speak out, we can change this ...”
“In defending this hurtful and discriminatory policy barring gay youth
and leaders, the Boy Scouts of America are simply standing on the wrong
side of history. And in doing so, the Boy Scouts are hurting the very
people that you aim to serve: the young men who participate in your
programs,” said Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom …
The letter, addressed to Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council Scout Executive John
Fenoglio and Boy Scouts of America President Wayne Perry, calls on the
Boy Scouts to honor Andresen’s application to obtain the rank of Eagle
Scout and to end the long-standing policy barring gay youth and leaders.
“We ask that Ryan Andresen receive the honor that he has rightfully earned. To deny him the title of Eagle Scout denigrates his efforts, and cheapens the title for his fellow Eagles. To hold him to a different standard, to say he is unworthy of this honor because of his sexual orientation is as offensive and un-American as it would be to do so because of the color of his skin,” writes Senator Yee and the 32 legislators who support his sign-on letter ...
Ryan has also received the support of his U.S. Senator, Barbara Boxer, who wrote to Ryan saying: "I recently read about your story and wanted to commend you for your 12 years of service to your community, as well as your determination to stand up for yourself and others against bullying and discrimination.
"Your perseverance to raise awareness against bullying is commendable. I admire your courage to stand up for who you are, as well as the bravery you have demonstrated in the face of intolerance."