An Oakland television news reporter and a Patch reporter stood on the porch of the family home in Moraga, chatting with an Andresen family member.
The family was not giving any more statements to the collective media. A national television show had signed the family up to fly to its studios to appear in a segment next week. The national show got the Andresens to agree to stop speaking for now to other media about the case of their 17-year-old son, who was denied an opportunity to qualify for an Eagle Scout award because he is gay, the family says.
Part of the deal, too, was the family not disclosing which national TV show it is.
Patch first reported Thursday on the Andresen family and its petition drawing international attention on Change.org urging the leaders of the local troop to reject the Boy Scouts of America's "discriminatory anti-gay policy" and give Ryan Andresen the Eagle award. Ryan is a senior at Maybeck High School in Berkeley. Andresen's Eagle Scout project is a 288-tile wall of tolerance at Joaquin Moraga Middle School in Moraga.
Defense of Scouts
A regional Boy Scout executive has defended the Scouts' actions in this case. "A Scout proactively 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," reads the statement from John Fenoglio, scout executive for the Mount Diablo Silverado Council of the Boy Scouts in Pleasant Hill. "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."
The Change.org petition has climbed to more than 154,000 signatures this week.
A Maine woman wrote: "I think it is pathetic that people in this country still discriminate people for any reason, including sexual orientation. Sometimes, I feel embarrassed to be a part of this country; A country where we're supposed to accept every man as equal, and we can't even do that. I believe Ryan should get his Eagle Scout Award. He has earned it, gay or not. Sexual orientation does not change the character of a person. I am so very sorry Ryan, that you have to put up with this ignorance."
The Patch story on Andresen's appeal has drawn national attention and many comments. That includes one from his mother, Karen Andresen, that sheds some light on how this impasse came about: "I am so glad that the most of the feedback for my son has been positive. Ryan came out to his troop in order to help another Scout member with a bullying issue. This shows courage, honesty, and the desire to put others first. My son was born gay, and hid this for too long due to the shame he felt. The bullying and hazing within this troop was too much for many to handle. I am getting so many letters from former scouts that were affected by name night alone.
"The majority of troops do not uphold the national standards with regard to orientation. I have talked to most of the troops around and they want Ryan to transfer his "work" to their troops. They cannot believe this is happening. I have heard from many clergy who also are in shock. The scoutmaster knew Ryan was gay and his letter was sent out before he got approval for his project. He worked very hard to complete his tolerance wall on time. Why would the scoutmaster lead him on? How can you show zero compassion for someone who entered Scouts at age 6, when orientation was not known. How can you say that he should not get his Eagle for being gay? Do you think he had a choice in this matter? Trust me, he would not choose to suffer in the many ways he has … By the way, Girl Scouts is a great organization and they don't discriminate, nor does 4H, or even the military. This was never about religion, by the way. I guess the BSA is trying to make it, though."
Bay City News Service contributed to this report.
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