The Boy Scouts of America has officially rejected young Ryan Andresen's application to become an Eagle Scout, citing the fact he's openly gay as reason.
An Eagle Scout Board of Review had evaluated Andresen's credentials and recommended him on December 31 to join the Mount Diablo-Silverado Council. But John Fenoglio, Scout executive with the council, intervened Wednesday to stop Andresen from becoming an Eagle Scout. He told CNN that Andresen was denied over "duty to God, avowed homosexuality, and the fact that he is now over 18 years of age."
"It's an unprecedented move," said Zach Wahls in a statement distributed by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Wahls has been fighting the national policy by lobbying local branches to break away from it. "It's clear that Fenoglio's reversal was forced by BSA national. He's a paid employee, and unfortunately, National exerts a lot of influence over their staff."
Things got started in October after Andresen's scoutmaster refused to sign his Eagle application because he's openly gay and Andresen's mom started a Change.org petition that has attracted nearly half a million signatures. It was titled, "Boy Scouts, Don't let your antigay policy deny my son his Eagle award."
His father, Eric Andresen, said in a statement that the national organization is sending a bad message with this decision.
"The Boy Scouts is a volunteer-driven organization," he points out. "What signal is the Boy Scouts of America sending to those volunteers, when they circumvent the local process and tell the official Board of Review that the a volunteer board lacks authority?"
GLAAD president Herndon Graddick said Fenoglio's explanation belies the facts and condemned the move in the harshest possible terms.
“That BSA national executives would not only thwart the approval of, but also simultaneously lie about, the Eagle badge application of a committed young scout is not only shocking, it’s shameful,” said Graddick. “The organization continues to use smoke and mirrors to preserve an outdated policy that is wholly discriminatory and continues to erode the integrity of the organization.”
Watch video of a previous interview below by CNN's Anderson Cooper with Andresen and his mother, Karen.