July 22, 2012

We respectfully disagree with your July 20 editorial “So much for brave and kind,” which criticized Boy Scouts of America’s decision after a two-year evaluation to maintain its membership standards policy. Also, it is inaccurate to categorize our position as telling “young people that some of them are unequal.”

Let’s be clear. We do not have an agenda when it comes to gay or lesbian rights, nor do we endeavor to teach about sex. Businesses, the government, religious leaders and families should and will continue to grapple with those complex issues.

Our evaluation, which included extensive research within and outside the organization, informed us that parents of youth we serve do not put their children — most of whom are under 12 years of age — in scouting to address the issue of same-sex attraction in any way. Potentially forcing parents to address this complex and divisive topic with their children infringes on their rights.

We will not use our youth development program to enter a social and political debate beyond its level of expertise. We value the freedom of everyone to express their opinion, but describing us as intolerant because we set a membership standard as a private organization is inflammatory and makes civil discourse on this important topic impossible.

We will continue to teach our members to treat those with different opinions with courtesy and respect. We request that the same courtesy be extended in return.

Wayne Perry and Bob Mazzuca, Irving, Tex.

The writers are, respectively, national president and chief scout executive of the Boy Scouts of America.