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Gay Scout Gains $$$ on Ellen DeGeneres Show

Ryan Andresen of Moraga accepts contribution toward college after chatting with the host on the national television show. Show airs at 4 p.m. today.

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres complimented the courage of Moraga Boy Scout Ryan Andresen, then she pulled out the big cardboard check.

On behalf of Shutterfly, DeGeneres gave Andresen a $20,000 check toward his college education.

Andresen, 18, who says Troop 212 officials denied him an Eagle Scout award because he had come out as gay to his troop, appeared on the national show on NBC. It airs at 4 p.m. today (Thursday) in the Bay Area. The taped segment with Andresen is already posted on the show's website.

Andresen's Eagle Scout project was to design and install a 288-tile "tolerance wall" at Joaquin Moraga Middle School in Moraga. "All middle schools should have a tolerance wall," said DeGeneres.

The host told the story of Andresen's mom Karen, who organized a petition on Change.org (385,000 supporters and counting) urging the local troop to reject "the Boy Scouts' discriminatory policy."

"I love moms like that," said DeGeneres.

"I love you, Mom," said Andresen, looking out to the studio audience where his teary-eyed mom was sitting.

Ryan Andresen said 170 Scouts (including 50 from Troop 212 in Moraga) had pledged to send him their Eagle Scout pins in an effort organized in part by a former Moraga Scout, Matthew Kimball and an organization called Scouts for Equality. Kimball grew up in Moraga and Alamo while participating in Troop 212 in Moraga. Now age 30 and living in San Francisco, Kimball achieved his Eagle Scout pin without coming out as being gay, Andresen said.

A photo of Andresen and Kimball showed on the screen of the DeGeneres show set.

Doreen October 12, 2012 at 06:46 PM
It seems there was a "don't ask, don't tell" policy going, since Ryan had only disclosed to his troop leader. The troop leader had apparently approved the 'tolerance wall' project, then withheld the badge after Ryan came out to his troop. The BSA was willing to lose it's United Way funding rather than change it's rules re: what a good Scout is. United Way was the single largest funder of the BSA and it was a huge financial loss. I respect & admire the courage of Ryan's mother & Ryan. Real change comes from within more effectively than from without. Sexual preference should not be the pervue of an organization like Scouts, which probably has the same percentage of gays, Scouts & leaders, as are found in the society at large.

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