MORAGA -- A mother demanding the Boy Scouts allow her gay son to become an Eagle Scout wrote up an online petition in support of her goal that has received about 70,000 signatures.

Karen Andresen is pushing the organization to let her son Ryan, a senior at Maybeck High School in Berkeley, apply for scouting's highest rank. Ryan, who turns 18 next week, recently came out to his friends and family as gay, she says in her petition on Change.org.

In the petition, Karen Andresen writes that Ryan was denied his Eagle Scout standing by Troop 212 despite fulfilling the necessary requirements. Her son's story is gaining national attention; Karen and Eric Andresen said Thursday that their story will be aired nationally. They declined further comment.

"It hurts me so much to watch Ryan suffer for being who he is, because to me, he's perfect," Karen Andresen writes in the petition. "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. I hope that if enough people come together, we can convince my son's troop leaders to help him feel proud of who he is and all he's accomplished."

Ryan has been a Scout since age 6, according to the petition. His mother said his approved final project for earning his Eagle Scout designation was a "Tolerance Wall" he built to oppose bullying in school by using tiles illustrated by elementary school students. He built the 288-tile wall at Joaquin Moraga Middle School, his parents said.


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But according to a statement from John Fenoglio, Scout executive of the Mt. Diablo Silverado Council, which oversees Troop 212, Ryan's admission falls short of Scouting's standards.

"Recently, 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," the statement read. "While the Boy Scouts of America 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."

Signatures from as far away as the United Kingdom are among the 70,000, including many from former Scouts and siblings of Scouts.

Contact Daniel M. Jimenez at 510-262-2728 and follow him at Twitter.com/DMJreports. Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4780 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.