Philly OKs ending Scout lease over gays
Posted by pozlife on June 2, 2007
published Friday, June 1, 2007
The city of Philadelphia may require the local Boy Scouts of America chapter to affirm that it will not discriminate against openly gay people or else lose its rent-free headquarters.
The City Council passed a resolution Thursday that City Solicitor Romulo L. Diaz Jr. said was a last step needed to end the Scouts’ lease under a 1928 ordinance that leased the land for their headquarters to them in perpetuity.
Diaz and Councilman Darrell L. Clarke, whose district includes the building, said they hoped the resolution would prompt the two sides to resolve the dispute so the Scouts could continue to use the building at a nominal rent.
Jeff Jubelirer, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America’s Cradle of Liberty Council, as the Philadelphia chapter is known, said any decision probably would involve the leadership of the scouting organization’s National Council, and he did not know how scout officials would react.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that as a private group, the boy scouts have a First Amendment constitutional right to bar gays from membership. The Cradle of Liberty Council adopted a nondiscrimination policy in 2003 but was ordered to revoke it by the National Council, which said local councils had no right to deviate from national rules that bar participation by anyone who is openly gay.
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