This 2003 post, about the short-lived decision of the Philadelphia Boy Scouts to buck the national Boy Scouts leadership by refusing to discriminate against gay Scouts, has recently come up in comments. Which led me to check out what’s going on with the Philly Boy Scouts currently:
Philly May Oust Scouts Over Anti-Gay Policy
by The Associated Press
July 23, 2006
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) The city said it will evict a Boy Scout council from its publicly owned headquarters or make the group pay a fair rent price unless it changes its policy on gays.
The Boy Scouts’ Cradle of Liberty Council, the country’s third-largest, has been battling with the city for more than three years over the policy, which like the national Scouts organization forbids gays from being leaders.
City Solicitor Romulo L. Diaz Jr. wrote a letter to William T. Dwyer III, president of the Cradle of Liberty Council, stating that the council’s “discriminatory policies” violate city policy and law, and that city officials have not been assured the group will not discriminate.
Unless the city gets a “fair-market rent agreement,” the council will be evicted, the letter says.
The group has made its headquarters on a half-acre owned by the city in the upscale Philadelphia Art Museum area since 1928, when the city council voted to allow the Scouts to use the property rent-free “in perpetuity.” The Scouts pay for building upkeep.
The Boy Scouts have said they’re going to take the city to court to protect their sacred Constitutional right to rent-free space in a choice downtown location. If so, they won’t be the only Scout troop suing for a hand-out.
If Philly does evict the Scouts, the city might lose $62 million in Federal grant money. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The federal Support Our Scouts Act of 2005 allows the Department of Housing and Urban Development to deny funds to any state or local government that discriminates against or denies Boy Scouts access to facilities equal to those provided to other groups. The city received more than $62 million in HUD funds last year.
Meanwhile, back in May, two boys were kicked out of a Louisiana Boy Scout troop for being Wiccans.