City sends Boy Scouts packing over discriminatory policy

Back in June I wrote a post about how the City Council had proposed an ordinance that would end the very sweet deal the Boy Scouts of American have had with the city since 1928. They rent a very nice building from the city at 22nd and Winter (a prime spot near the Franklin Institute) for a $1 a year. However, since BSA ban gays from membership (a right that the Supreme Court upheld in 2000) the city didn’t feel like it was appropriate to continue to subsidize their use of the building.

So the city has upped the rent to $200,000 a year and the Boy Scouts are saying that they will have to relocate (it does get a little tricky in that the city owns the land but the BSA constructed the building. I guess they didn’t anticipate a world in which their discriminatory practices would become problematic). They are still trying to work out the final details and there may yet be an 11th hour stay, but barring some vast policy change, it looks like the Boys Scouts are out.

City hikes Boy Scouts’ rent by $199,999 over gay ban [Inky]

3 Comments so far

  1. Elizabeth Schmitz (unregistered) on October 18th, 2007 @ 11:12 am

    From Schmitz Blitz: schmitzblitz.wordpress.com

    City officials rightfully claim that they cannot use tax payer money to subsidize an organization that discriminates against gays. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the the group’s discriminatory policies in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale by referring to the First Amendment right of the freedom of association. I support the decision and the right of private groups to determine their own membership. But this does not mean these private organizations also have the right to receive government funding.

    It’s unfortunate to see that kids are the ones who are going to suffer the most from the Boy Scout’s discriminatory policies in this instance. But I think actions such as those taken by the City of Philadelphia are the best way to eradicate discrimination. Once organizations see how costly it is to discriminate, they will be forced to reevaluate their policies to see if they are truly worth it.

    Profit, not high minded notions of equality, is the primary reason why the private sector is so much more progressive with regard to gay equality than the government is. I’d like to see more local governments challenge the Boy Scout’s policy by rightfully denying them tax-payer’s money.


  2. Concerned Citizen (unregistered) on October 18th, 2007 @ 12:32 pm

    Right now there is a war going on in the city of Philadelphia and we as a society are more concerned about the Boy Scout pay rent, what is wrong with us??? Last time I checked homosexual can’t get married in Philadelphia or Pennsylvania because of government regulations, so who is actually setting the discrimination precedent here? Maybe the Boy Scout are just following the precedent set by the government. I think once the government totally embraces alternative lifestyles, then and only then, will discrimination be eliminated.

    Maybe as a society we should begin to work together, instead of having these little pissing matches between different groups, and take our city back from the gang bangers and dealers. Maybe that is where we need to be spending our resources, not bickering back and forth on who get what. True diversification in society will only ever occur if we work together and learn about one another.


  3. Chris (unregistered) on October 18th, 2007 @ 7:07 pm

    I’m sorry Elizabeth but I can honestly not see how a city that does not allow gay marriages feels it is OK to take away government funding because the Philadelphia Council won’t break ranks from the BSA in regards to their membership policy. Once the city and state leaders fully accept the gay community then it would be a fair trade off but as there is no fair trade off just a group that does plenty of good in the community getting evicted I can only see this as the city deems the land is valuable to them in a monetary sense. This has nothing to do with gay rights, if it did they would clear up there own issues with gay rights before jumping down on others.

    You want to know what I see happening from this move? I see that the council will have to shut down some of its inner city troops and cub packs meaning instead of a worthwhile activity for these kids to partake in they will now be out on the streets more then likely upping our already ridiculous crime rates.



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