By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com October 12 2012 3:18 PM ET
The Boy Scout who was refused his Eagle Medal because he came out as gay got some good news about his future during an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres' talk show.
“I cannot give you the pin,” DeGeneres told him Thursday. “But what I can do, I know you want to go to college… so Shutterfly is giving you a check for $20,000.”
Ryan Andresen is 17 and had been part of the Boy Scouts since age 6. In an online petition calling for the group to give her son the medal he earned, Andresen's mother has so far garnered about 400,000 signatures.
Eagle Scouts from around the country have sent him their own medals as a sign of support, with 170 medals on the way so far, he said. One Florida dentist named Andrew Zerbinopolous sent his, saying, “If I can make him feel like he has some support out there, it’s worth it to me to send him a piece of metal.”
The Boy Scouts has stuck to its policy of ejecting openly gay scouts and troop leaders despite public pressure, including Intel dropping its donations to any chapter that follows the national policy. However, UPS has said it will continue to donate and is being targeted by activist and Eagle Scout Zach Wahls in a petition calling for the funding to stop. The Human Rights Campaign has said it may consider penalizing companies in its annual equality rankings if they continue to donate to the Boy Scouts.
“I hope people understand that discrimination is not OK,” Andresen said on Thursday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “The Boy Scouts is an organization that is very unique, it has a lot of opportunities that nothing else will ever grant you in your whole entire life. I am so blessed that I got to go through it and I don’t think it is fair that not everyone gets the opportunity to go through it.”
Watch the video below.