- (Photo: Boy Scouts of America)
The Boy Scouts of America have said they will not give the Eagle Scout award to a boy scout in California because he refused to agree to scouting's principle of "Duty to God" and does not qualify for membership due to his sexual orientation.
"This 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," BSA spokesman Deron Smith told ABC News, speaking of Ryan Andresen, who had recently completed the requirements to earning his Eagle Scout award but came out gay.
"Agreeing to do one's 'Duty to God' is a part of the scout Oath and Law and a requirement of achieving the Eagle Scout rank," Smith said, adding the Boy Scouts does not actively ask the sexual orientation of boys.
Andresen has said he worked hard to meet the requirements for the prestigious award despite facing adversity, intolerance and bullying during Boy Scout activities. However, the "ideals and principles" are "central to the mission of teaching young people to make better choices over their lifetimes," Smith explained.
Boy Scouts of America announced in July that it will retain its 102-year-old membership policy that bar openly gay persons, saying it "remains in the best interest of Scouting."
"Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to achieve the life-changing benefits to youth through Scouting. While not all Board members may personally agree with this policy, and may choose a different direction for their own organizations, BSA leadership agrees this is the best policy for the organization and supports it for the BSA," the executive committee of the BSA National Executive Board said at the time.
After the BSA announcement, both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said through their respective spokespersons that they disagree with the policy.
"The President believes the Boy Scouts is a valuable organization that has helped educate and build character in American boys for more than a century. He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on [the] basis of sexual orientation," White House spokesperson Shin Inouye said.
The position the former Massachusetts governor took was a little different. Andrea Saul, a spokesperson for the Romney campaign, said that Romney's position had not changed since a 1994 debate when he was running for the U.S. Senate. "I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue. I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation," Romney said at the time.