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Ryan Andresen, Gay Teen, Allegedly Refused Eagle Scout Award Because Of His Sexuality

10/05/2012 09:25 am 09:25:30 | Updated Feb 02, 2016

A mother of a gay teen says her son was denied his Eagle Scout award because of his sexuality.

High school senior Ryan Andresen recently completed his Eagle Scout project, which included building a 288-tile wall of tolerance for a middle school in California to comfort victims of bullying, Pleasant Hill Patch reports.

However, the 17-year-old's mom says leaders from Andresen's Boy Scout troop "won't approve his Eagle award" because her son is gay.

"We are all just in shock," Karen Andresen told Patch.

NBC News notes that Boy Scouts of America has "a longstanding policy denying membership to gay leaders and Scouts, which they reaffirmed earlier this year after a two-year confidential review of the controversial ban."

The news agency added that Andresen’s father resigned as assistant Scoutmaster after it was confirmed that Ryan wouldn't receive the award.

“I want everyone to know that [the Eagle award] should be based on accomplishment, not your sexual orientation. Ryan entered Scouts when he was [6] years old and in no way knew what he was," the teen's mom told NBC. "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.”

Andresen came out in July.

The Andresen family is said to be working on an appeal of the decision. They have also started a petition on Change.org urging the leaders of the teen's troop to reject the organization's "discriminatory anti-gay policy" and give the young man the Eagle award.

"It hurts me so much to watch Ryan suffer for being who he is, because to me, he's perfect. Ryan has worked for nearly 12 years to become an Eagle Scout, and nothing would make him more proud than earning that well-deserved distinction," the teen's mom wrote on the petition website.

According to Patch.com, the petition -- which currently has more than 78,000 signatures -- has attracted international attention.

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