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Boy Scout homophobia

February 17, 2008

Re "Scouting's merits," Opinion, Feb. 12

Jay A. Fernandez missed an opportunity to educate his stepson about discrimination by making the easy decision to let Ethan join the Boy Scouts. My son, when faced with a similar situation (I was also a Boy Scout with my father as troop leader), was told he could not join. He then faced extreme peer pressure at school, as he was the only one who did not join and the other boys in his class wore their uniforms to school on meeting days. He and I had a very poignant conversation in which I explained that discrimination is against my core beliefs and no support should be given to any organization that openly does so. It is abominable that the Boy Scouts are allowed to openly discriminate against the homosexual community. Every time this topic arises, I ask, "What would you do if they openly discriminated based on race?"

J. Berick Treidler

Los Angeles

I am an Eagle Scout. I object to Fernandez's suggestion that the American Civil Liberties Union poses no threat to the Boy Scouts. The ACLU has a record of pressuring the Scouts to admit atheists and open homosexuals despite the Scouts' right as a private organization to abide by its established moral code. Recently, the ACLU worked to destroy valuable public-private partnerships by challenging the Scouts' use of San Diego parks for camps, suing to end the tradition of national jamborees on a military base and threatening lawsuits against schools that sponsored troops.

Fernandez also takes issue with the organization I represent, the American Civil Rights Union. He writes that we are "misleadingly named." Actually, the ACRU has defended the Scouts' civil rights in a number of court cases. We will continue to do so.

Hans Zeiger

Senior Fellow

American Civil Rights

Union, Malibu

Over the years, I have struggled with the same moral dilemma Fernandez describes. As my son advanced to Eagle Scout, I looked for a personal justification for belonging to an organization that still has homophobic policies. My best rationale came from my son's study for his citizenship-in-the-nation merit badge. He learned that we do not always agree with our country's policies, but we don't renounce our citizenship in protest.

Rodney Burgoyne Jr.

Valley Village

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