The Boy Scouts’ free ride may be coming to an end

You may remember this controversy from several years ago. In 2000, the Supreme Court affirmed the right of the Boy Scouts of America, as a private organization, to ban gays from membership under the protection of the First Amendment.

Here in Philadelphia, the Boy Scouts of America’s Cradle of Liberty Council uses a building as their headquarters that was leased to them in perpetuity by the city in 1928. They pay an extremely nominal fee to use this space. Once the Supreme Court ruled that they were allowed to discriminate, some folks in Philly thought it was inappropriate to subsidize their operations if they were permitted to bar people based on their sexual orientation.

Yesterday, the City Council passed an ordinance that will make it possible for the city to end that perpetual lease if the Cradle of Liberty Council maintains a policy of discrimination. In the defense of our local Scouts, in 2003 they adopted a nondiscrimination policy (which you can find here), but were “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.”

The City Council and the Cradle of Liberty Council hope to be able to work things out so that they can remain the building, but if they continue to be forced into a position of discrimination by the National Council they will be forced to move.

City Council Votes To End Boy Scouts’ Lease

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