Philadelphia Council OKs End to Scout Lease
Jun 1, 2007
Will lose rent-free headquarters if discrimination continues.
The city may require the Boy Scouts of America's Cradle of Liberty Council 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 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 Cradle of Liberty Council, said any decision probably would involve the leadership of the scout's National Council, and he did not know how scout officials would react.
Dale Merkle of Atlanta, whose sons were scouts, called on the national board to change the rules.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that as a private group, scouts have a First Amendment right to bar gays from membership. The Cradle of Liberty Cou ncil 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.