Moraga Scout Is Due in Sacramento

Supporters in Legislature will honor Ryan Andresen, 18, who was denied his Eagle Scout award when he went public with his sexual orientation.

Moraga Boy Scout Ryan Andresen is due to be honored in Sacramento at noon today (Monday) by Assembly Speaker John Perez.

Earlier this fall, Andresen, 18, was denied his Eagle Scout award after he came out publicly about his sexual orientation. In Sacramento he will attend meetings with public supporters of the campaign to pressure the Boy Scouts to grant his Eagle Scout award for the Tolerance Wall he created. The 288-tile wall is displayed at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School in Moraga.

Those supporters include Assembly member Karen Skinner, Sen. Leland Yee and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, according to a press release by Change.org. The Andresen visit is part of the opening of a Legislature session.

Change.org is the site that hosts the petition started by his mother, Karen Andresen, urging the Boy Scouts to grant him his Eagle Scout badge. It has more than 425,000 signatures from around the nation and the world.

Lance Howland (Editor) December 04, 2012 at 11:51 PM
I deleted a Fritz comment for name calling and personal attack but I do love the quote, "You're as sick as your secrets." -- Lance Howland, editor, Lamorinda Patch
Joshua Halloway December 05, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Lance - How is this not a personal attack against Ryan?
Joshua Halloway December 05, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Lance - How is this not an attack against the BSA? This commenter has accused them of making dumb decisions.
Joshua Halloway December 05, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Agreed. Why does anybody care about the BSA? It seems like an irrelevant group that has been left behind by most people.
Joshua Halloway December 05, 2012 at 01:09 AM
I strongly disagree that the BSA are making a dumb decision. They are making a decision. Not smart. Not dumb. Just a decision. The organization is bearing the financial impact of its decision as more and more companies stop giving money and begin distancing themselves from the group. That's the way freedom works. A private group makes a decision and then endures the consequences. But, to call its decision dumb is name calling.
Chris Nicholson December 05, 2012 at 01:18 AM
I think your suggestion that my comment was an attack, is an attack (specififcally, a dumb attack). Note that I did not day that you or the BSA are dumb, just that you both did dumb things. It is dumb to fail to distinguish between name calling and opining.
Lance Howland (Editor) December 05, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Joshua: I'm not sure whether you were asking for a response or being sarcastic. But I agree with what Chris says down below that one needs to distinguish between name calling and opining: "Note that I did not day that you or the BSA are dumb, just that you both did dumb things." -- Lance Howland, editor, Lamorinda Patch
Trenton Gregory December 05, 2012 at 04:55 AM
As someones identity has no effect on...being any of the values a scout has- it's a slap in the face of anyone who is discriminated against. Your right as this is a tired old topic and just ... " seeing someone as any less based on skin , gender or identity isn't " American" people get over your bigotry-
Evan B December 05, 2012 at 08:46 AM
Pauline, by your logic you're implying that no private organization has the justification to self determination; that no private organization has the "right" to choose how to behave, or the "right" to determine whom to include in its membership. Just as the United Negro College Fund, the World Jewish Congress, or the National Association of Women Business Owners have the ability to decide who is an appropriate member, so does the Boy Scouts of America. To insinuate that the BSA shouldn't be able to choose it's own members is analogous to telling the United Negro College Fund that they must give scholarships to non-African Americans because this selective policy is racially biased. Whether you approve of our legal system of not, each of the above organizations is empowered to make choices for itself, regardless of the social "appropriateness."
Joshua Halloway December 05, 2012 at 10:24 AM
Wow. You two took that too seriously. It is called sarcasm.
Pauline Proffett December 05, 2012 at 05:16 PM
No, Evan, I did not imply or insinuate the BSA - or any private organization - doesn't have the right to determine whom to include in its membership, and I explicitly stated that above ("and I'm not talking about the fact that the BSA, as a private organization, has the right to make its own rules, which it does"). I was pointing out that your original comment was not accurate, and that in fact the majority of BSA membership ("out here" in your words) do disagree with this policy. And I was pointing out that there is value in an organization's membership actively working towards changing policies they believe are wrong.
Geoff B December 05, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Why don't the homosexuals who want to be part of a scouting organization simply start their own Gay Scouts of America, rather than trying to change a century-old institution's core policies to suit their own minority whims? You can't simply waltz into the Salt Lake Temple if you aren't a Mormon, and you can't attend closed Masonic meetings if you aren't a Free Mason, so why are people trying to force the BSA to accept homosexuals (or anyone else who does not meet all of the core requirements) into their organization? Sorry Karen, John, Leland, and Gavin, but Ryan simply isn't Boy Scout material. That's not to say he's a bad person, but he is wrong in his crusade to fundamentally change the BSA and the Boy Scout Oath and the Boy Scout Law.
Trenton Gregory December 05, 2012 at 08:34 PM
What does being gay have to do with not fitting all American ideals? The military has many young men and women who die for your freedom.. as I recall isn't it all men are "equal" .. the scouts are not a church and would be lucky to be seen as informed as the armed services... Millions of gay men and women serve to honor this county! The scouting history would be lucky to be as respected ..
Onions and Opinions Make You Cry December 05, 2012 at 08:41 PM
It's not just homosexuals trying to change the policy. Many heterosexuals want to change it as well. But, you make a valid point.
Moraga Man December 05, 2012 at 08:44 PM
I find it interesting that everyone, especially the news media and now the state legislature, assume Ryan was denied the rank of Eagle because of his being gay. The process of denial started with his refusal to acknowledge his "duty to God" because he does not, or did not, profess a belief in God. The gay issue came out after the fact. Also, why is everyone so quick to jump into the political correct camp of supporting a gay scout here. Please remember that the BSA has the responsibility of making sure the parents of the millions of boys that go on BSA camp outs feel comfortable that their son is in good keeping. Is anyone on here, in the name of political correctness, anxious to send their 11 year old son out into the wilderness with gay leaders and gay scouts? When considered in the larger context, the BSA's policy makes total sense to me.
Evan B December 05, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Pauline, if the majority of the BSA membership felt that our, (yes "our", as I'm an Eagle Scout) Oath and Law were fundamentally discriminatory, the Oath and Law would have been modified decades ago. From where did you gather the data which leads you to believe that a, "majority" of the membership feels the way in which you feel? I personally do not know a single Boy Scout, Eagle Scout, or Adult Leader who feels that modifying our 102 year old set of core tenants is prudent. Many societal changes have occurred since the inception of the BSA, and for over a century our rules have remained steadfast. They won't change now, and I'm sure as another century passes, more individuals will claim some flavor of discrimination or another.
Moraga Man December 05, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Those in the military are adults who can fend for themselves. Tiger cubs start at age 6. Cubs at 8. Boy scouts at 11. And yes, all men are created equal, but that does not disallow distinctions. We practice age discrimination with the age to vote and drink. Discrimination does not have to be evil. We discriminate all the time for perfectly sound reasons. At Disneyland you have to be a certain height to ride certain rides. And so it goes in many areas of life. The gays are perfectly welcome to establish the GSA and disallow straight kids from joining.
ElectraDaddy December 05, 2012 at 09:00 PM
MoragaMan - I strongly agree that the BSA, as a private organization, should be allowed to establish its own membership requirements. I also believe that companies and individuals are well within the bounds of sanity to distance themselves from the BSA for their membership policies. However, your suggestion that boys are at a risk from gay scouts and gay troop leaders is scientifically inaccurate and vile. Additionally, by incorrectly casting the light of suspicion upon gay scouts and leaders for no reason other than their homosexuality, you perpetuate a stereotype that allows real predators to hide in the shadows and continue their abuse. If you really care about children, you certainly wouldn't want to partake in such an endeavor. Again, I whole heartedly support any private organization, such as the BSA, in their efforts to establish their own membership guidelines just as I support those companies and individuals who oppose the guidelines.
Trenton Gregory December 05, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Didn't we do that with having different bathrooms for blacks? For the safety of children? More youth are harmed by Straight..men and women .. so being gay has nothing to do with a higher rate of harm. The armed services sees only positive steps in supporting "all" who serve with honor. Again the scouts would be lucky to be as respected .
Frank Mockery December 05, 2012 at 09:17 PM
No decent American would allow their children to join such a homophobic organization which allowed child molesters to gain access to children while hiding the scope of the problem from parents & law enforcement ! If you look up hypocritical in the dictionary they use the Boy Scouts of America as a prime example of unfettered hypocrisy & smug & shameless behavior ! The Boy Scouts have something all over their hands & here's a clue it isn't blood,but it's chock full of DNA ! Can you earn a Merit Badge for being inappropriately groped & violated or is this just considered part of scouting nowadays ?
Claire December 05, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Is this the level of discourse we are resorting to on this story? It seems to me everyone's opinion has been aired, and now we are scraping the bottom of the barrel. Surely there are some other newsworthy events happening in Lamorinda.
Frank Mockery December 05, 2012 at 09:50 PM
The Scouts are certainly within their right as a private organization to ban gays,but it's also the public's right to deny this homophobic organization access to public funds & facilities for their use ! This would include city buildings,school property,parks & recreational facilities that they rent or use free of charge at the taxpayer's expense ! Besides most Scouts & Scoutmasters are socially inadequate misfits who have been shunned by the majority of Americans who wouldn't get involved in the embarassment that is Scouting if you held a gun to their heads ! Just ask the moron at Chick-fil-A how his businesses homophobia cost them tens of thousands of customers before they apologized & promised to quit funding homophobic organizations ! Much like the Republican Party the Boy Scouts are just another repugnant & shrinking entity unable & unwilling to evolve quickly enough to be relevant in todays more permissive society ! It's a terrible shame that thousands of Scouts & the worthwhile contributions they make in our communities can no longer be supported by millions of Americans due to the untenable moral values of a handful of their leaders ! Let's applaud the City of Berkeley for kicking the Sea Scouts out of their free berth at the Marina because of their stance on gay Scouts & encourage every city to follow their wonderful example of democracy in action ! The self-righteousness of the Boy Scouts is only exceeded by their self-importance,who are the real little men here ?
Geoff B December 05, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Boy Scouts of America isn't a homosexual organization. It is also not a heterosexual organization. Scouting is an ASEXUAL organization! These are children, folks. ANY amount of sexuality is inappropriate here. It's just as wrong to flaunt heterosexuality as it is to flaunt homosexuality. The only reason Ryan's homosexuality became an issue is because he MADE it an issue; how else would anyone have known about his sexuality? I can't speak for Troop 212, but while I was a Boy Scout in another Lamorinda Troop (I started as a Cub Scout and worked my way up to Eagle), the topic of sex - gay or straight - sure wasn't ever welcome. Had it come up, there is no doubt in my mind that it would have been immediately and strictly dealt with. This is a zero-tolerance issue which no amount of liberal activist bullying is going to change. It's absolutely within the rights of the financial contributors to Boy Scouts of America to withhold further funds from the organization if they happen to disagree with this policy; it's also absolutely within the rights of the BSA to uphold the standards that they expect their members to meet. Ryan simply isn't Eagle Scout material, and he and his mother have a big chip on their shoulders about that, hence the media circus.
Frank Mockery December 05, 2012 at 10:03 PM
When Scouts go camping they should keep the "rape kit" right next to the "first aid kit" ! It's this sort of stupidity that makes heroes out of "godless homosexual" teenagers by calling attention to the discriminatory practices of this dying & bigoted organization ! Maybe if they kept their hands to themselves,their trousers zipped up & their mouths closed they wouldn't be such a pariah in today's more permissive & secular society ?!?
Moraga Man December 05, 2012 at 10:10 PM
The comments go to the issue of why the BSA chooses to dissallow gay behavior (please note they allow gays, they dissallow gay behavior or gay promotion, a huge distinction)? Since the BSA is not made up of a bunch of wackos, it seems to me it is for one two reasons, if not both. 1. As an organization it believes gay behavior is not being "morally straight" as is explicit in the Scout Oath. 2. It is a safety/perception issue. My guess is membership would drop a meaningful amount if parents new leaders and/or fellow scouts were actively gay and actively promoting gay behavior. I know I would be hesitant to send my 11 yr old son into the wilderness with openly professed gays. If there is any merit to #2, the BSA is in a tough spot. It can either stick with its prohibition on gay behavior and promotion, or it can accept it. Either way it risks losing members. It appears it is betting that over time a solid core will remain with it for taking a stand. Frank, your accusations against the BSA are 30+ years old. And the reasons you state are the very reasons the BSA is holding its ground on gay professing members and leaders. (You can be gay and a boy scout or a leader, you just have to keep it to yourself. Come to think of it, I kept my heterosexual nature to myself all through scouts, so what's the big deal?). Electradaddy, I don't cast a light on gay leaders, they do it by promoting their gay-ness. They can be in scouts but just mum about their sexuality.
ElectraDaddy December 05, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Moragaman- Your #2 guess would be wrong. Parents overwhelmingly rejected your Briggs style hypothesis more than 30 years ago. This ban is based upon religion. There's nothing wrong with that. All sorts of people interpret religion doctrine differently. The BSA is certainly entitled to its own. Your continued efforts to paint an inaccurate picture of the typical child molester profile is certainly curious.
ElectraDaddy December 05, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Moragaman - What does mum about sexuality even mean? Both my husband & I volunteer at a local school. Do you suggest that one of us shouldn't volunteer at our kids' school? Do you suggest that my kids shouldn't be allowed to discuss their daddy & papa when other kids freely discuss their mommy & daddy? The keep mum phrase is a meaningless one trotted out to distract from the real conversation.
Moraga Man December 05, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Electradaddy: what have I said that "paints an inaccurate picture of the typical child molester profile"? What I've said is the BSA has a marketing issue. They can either take a public stance against openly gay behavior in the BSA and reduce anxiety among many parents, or they cannot. You can challenge whether parents should or shouldn't have anxiety on the point. Go for it. I'm not a social scientist and don't presume to answer the question for other parents. But I do know with certainty that there are many parents who would be hesitant to send their child on a camp out with openly gay leaders and boys. Don't pin the responsibility of all of society's perceptions on me just because I happen to speak of them. By mum, I mean the BSA has looked the other way with regard to leaders or scouts being gay. In fact, being gay, as I understand it does NOT disqualify you from participation; promoting homosexuality does. And yes, being open about one's homosexuality can be interpreted as promoting homosexuality, so I admit there is a fine line there. But BSA does not conduct witch hunts. They just don't want homosexuality to be promoted, taught, flaunted etc. Ryan did NOT fail to get his Eagle due to his being gay. He didnt' get his Eagle b/c he didn't participate in the troop for two years and then refused to profess belief in God. Once that was out and his receiving his Eagle was unlikely, he and his mom threw in the gay issue...despite what the media claims.
Trenton Gregory December 06, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Maby Tiger Woods ..should lead your boys into the woods as you wonder who's looking gay - lol, maby Lance Armstrong can talk about good sportsmanship and drugs? As you feel that Jimmys dad a honored vet isn't up to your code...as his husband isn't your problem. The poor child that knows he is different is getting a clear message about self worth even now. Abuse is also emotional and is should not be part of any scouting organization seeking to promote real American values.
David Mills (Editor) December 06, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Hello folks... thanks for all your comments. We believe everyone has had a chance to express their opinion on this particular story, so we are closing off comments.


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