My son Ryan needs your help.
Ryan joined the Boy Scouts when he was just six years old, and since then, he's dreamed of earning his Eagle award -- the highest rank in the Boy Scouts.
Ryan is now a senior in high school, and just completed the final requirements to earn his Eagle Award. He's an honor student with great SAT scores, who's hoping to attend the University of San Francisco. But because he recently came out to his friends and family as gay, leaders from our local Boy Scout troop say they won't approve his Eagle award.
A Boy Scout gets his Eagle by earning many badges, completing all lower Scout rank requirements, and carrying out an approved final project. So Ryan decided to build a "Tolerance Wall" for his school, to show bully victims -- like Ryan -- that they are not alone. Ryan worked countless hours with elementary students to amass a wall of 288 unique tiles, all illustrating acts of kindness.
But when local Boy Scout leaders found out that Ryan was gay, the Scoutmaster refused to sign the official paperwork designating Ryan as an Eagle Scout, despite the fact that Ryan completed all of the requirements.
Many troops and councils around the country are standing up, choosing to reject the Boy Scouts' discriminatory policy. I sincerely hope that Ryan's council will become one of them. And with your help, they just might.
It hurts me so much to watch Ryan suffer for being who he is, because to me, he's perfect. 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.
"Citizenship in the Community," a merit badge earned, means standing up for what is right, and I am proud of Ryan for doing just that. Will you stand with him too, and join this campaign?
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