PLEASANT HILL -- As the temperatures soared into the upper 80s Wednesday, a man briefly stood alone, decked out in a dark suit and with a sports jacket and tie.

Yet Matthew Kimball looked hardly uncomfortable. A rather warm suit on a very warm day was nothing considering what the person in the spotlight shouldered, he said.

"Ryan Andresen to me is inspiring," the Eagle Scout said. "You can't understate how much courage this took."

Andresen, who turned 18 earlier this month, is the gay Moraga Boy Scout who was denied his Eagle Scout designation because of his sexual orientation. He turned in a petition against the action with more than 400,000 signatures to his Scout Council on Wednesday.

Kimball, 30, was there to give Andresen his Eagle Scout badge. And because he's been out of the closet for two weeks. And because he earned his Eagle badge from Scout Troop 212, the same Moraga-based Troop that was forced by the Scouts' national policy to turn down Andresen. Kimball said he knew he was gay 12 years ago, but only gained the courage to come out after Andresen's story emerged.

"If a 17-year-old kid can do this, then so can I," Kimball said. "Scouting is wonderful, but they undo much of the good they try to teach with this policy. You can't, as an organization, tell someone to be of faith and then force that person to lie to himself. You can't resolve that. It's not right."


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Kimball said he was giving his Eagle badge to Andresen, not because he didn't want it anymore but because he was more proud of it than ever.

"I think Ryan deserves to have it," Kimball said. "What he's doing is going to -- already has -- helped a lot of people."

Rick Hurd covers breaking news. Contact him at 925-945-4780 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.