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Local Boy Scout Council Approves Gay Teen’s Eagle Rank Application

In a direct challenge to the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay stance, a California Boy Scout council has approved an openly gay teen’s application for the top rank of Eagle Scout.

Ryan Andresen, 18, and his parents garnered national attention in October after his Scoutmaster refused to sign his Eagle scout application because of his sexual orientation. Ryan was also ejected from his troop after applying for the Eagle rank, even though he had actually come out to his troop about a year earlier.

The Andresen family set up a petition on change.org, calling on his Scoutmaster to sign off on Ryan’s Eagle application, and nearly a half million people signed. At the same time, the family sent Ryan’s application in to higher-ranking Scout officials in his district. Eventually, it came across the desk of Bonnie Hazarabedian, chair of the Boy Scout district review board. That review board approved Ryan’s Eagle scout application, and has forwarded its recommendation to Boy Scouts of America’s(BSA’s) national headquarters to be approved.

The local review board’s approval is believed to be the first challenge of its kind to BSA’s ban on gay Scouts and leaders.

“It’s the first in-your-face (challenge),” Ms. Hazarabedian told Reuters.

“I don’t think sexual orientation should enter into why a Scout is a Scout, or whether they are Eagle material,” she added.  “We felt without a doubt he deserved that rank.”

Ryan’s project to become an Eagle Scout, which he completed, was to build a Tolerance Wall at a middle school. The wall consists of 288 tiles containing anti-bullying messages, reports Buzzfeed.

“I want other gay Scouts to know, especially those who are hiding who they really are, that this win is for you,” Ryan told GLAAD after learning of the approval.

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto)

Read more from Joslyn on Babble and at her blog, stark. raving. mad. mommy. You can also follow Joslyn on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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