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Boy Scouts win, can stay in Philadelphia building

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

A jury in Philadelphia has decided the city cannot evict a local Boy Scouts group from a city-owned building because of a national policy that bans gays.

Cradle of Liberty Council lawyer Jason Gosselin says the ruling means one simple fact: the Scouts can stay in their building in Center City rent free.

“Some people might say this was a mixed verdict and it really wasn’t. There was one series of incidents that spanned seven years that culminated in an eviction notice and we said that that conduct was improper, it violated the Boy Scouts’ Constitutional rights and there were really a couple of different theories as to how it violated out rights. And the jury found it violated our First Ammendment rights. We didn’t win on the 14th Ammendment claim, but we’re very pleased.”

Gosselin says despite losing on due-process grounds, the Scouts are seeking a legal decision requiring the city to pay their legal fees of more than $700,000.

He says the Scouts want to sit down with the city and put the disagreement behind them.

City solicitor Shelley Smith says Philadelphia is trying to figure out its options, and that may include appeal.


  • Marlowe says:

    This isn’t the Scout’s building, it’s the city’s building, the BSA can use it, they just have to pay market rent, which happens to be $200,000.00, not $1.00. The city isn’t requiring them to change their policy, they’re requiring them to pay market-rent for a building they don’t own, oh the humanity, what oppression the BSA is facing for having to pay money for the privilege to use things that do not belong to them.

  • vcheck64 says:

    I read all of comments and to tell the truth most of you have no clue what is Boy Scouts. Scouts are Cub Scouts between age of 6 and 10, Boy Scouts between age of 10 to 18 and Venturing which is both male and female between age of 14 and 21 and Learning for Life. Learning for Life is another Scouting unit. These units meet after school in some of public schools in Philadelphia. A part of Venturing is Sea Scouts and Explorer. In Cradle of Liberty Council there many Explorer Post and one is sponsor by the Philadelphia Police Dept http://ppdexplorers.org/ and Philadelphia Prison System also have an Explorer Post. In Philadelphia there a Coast Guard base that sponsors Sea Scouts. The DEA sponsor an Explorer Post and they have their meetings in the same court building where this trial take place. This can easily be access at this web site http://www.doubleknot.com/openrosters/DocDownload.asp?orgkey=1504&id=63346 to find out about these units.

  • Bryan says:

    I satisfied with the verdict. It shows that a jury of eight assessed the facts of the case and voted logically. The city and the council need to work on an agreement that pleases the courts decision and both sides. The most logical solution would be that the city just donates the 1/2 acre of land to the council and gets the issue over with. Whatever the political ramifications are, the mayor and city council can deal with them.

  • Past Philly, Past BSA says:

    I like Philly and visit, but see crime is still up and the population exodus is now 20 years running. I went to school in Philly. Had to leave the area to find better jobs and didn’t return after finding many more positive options for raising a family. Saw the BSA case. City politics are still mis-focused. Doesn’t anyone back home read before they write, or act. City is still politics first, as this misguided waste of energy and money shows, it just hurt Philly. The BSA and other organizations (volunteer, etc.) have court affirmed, constitutional rights of association. Our founding Philly founders were smart but its a shame we can’t be more aware of the entire constitution written in our own city. Stop being pawns by focusing on one side of one right or one group. Keep it up and your forced to collect rent from ALL ORGANIZATIONS in Philda. In fairness the city should have started with those who didn’t build a building for its youth and maintained it. See whats left in the city then. Signed, Still Hopeful after 25 years but still disappointed.

  • Micky D. says:

    Should I have to pay rent through subsidies to organizations whose policies and views I don’t like? If not, there are alot of leftwing, commie organizations (like ACORN) that I want evicted from government buildings. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander – but liberals want it only one way and their way. I’m glad the BSA won – they were being discriminated against for views they have a first amendment right to have.

  • Kat says:

    The BSA has had million dollar plus verdicts against it for the sexual abuse of boys by gay men in their leadership. I don’t blame the BSA for excluding gay men. If gay men did not have such a high rate of perverts who lust after little boys, the BSA wouldn’t have to worry. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t keep suing the BSA for allowing pedophilic gays go after scouts and then insist the BSA let in the very people who are prone to do just that. Gay men need to take responsiblity for their own criminality.

  • Irenec says:

    Great news. I am sick and tired of the attacks on the BSA. I don’t like what Planned Parenthood does. I don’t like what the NAACP and other racially exclusionary organizations do, but do I have a right to say my city cannot rent them space? These liberals think their own organizations can say or do what THEY want but anyone who disagrees with them has no rights. F— them. Go BSA!!!

  • Seeuinoz says:

    So gay taxpayers have to pay the rent of an organization that doesn’t allow gay members… and people agree with this ?

    let’s go one step further…

    White taxpayers have to pay the rent of an organization that doesn’t allow white members… anybody complaining ???

    • vcheck says:

      Big question out there is that city spent millons of tax dollars oh that building. The amount of tax money spent on the Scout office since it was built 80 years was $0.00. That alot of tax dollars spent

    • Bryan says:

      Dude, give it up already. You have posted your illogical statement everywhere, no one is siding with you.

  • DD says:

    Good on you Philadelphia. BSA has the right to do what they want.

    John K more like John Gay, AM I RIGHT????

  • harryo says:

    Does this mean now that the KKK and the American Nazi Party, as non-profit organizations, can qualify for rent-free space in city owned buildings?

    • John K. says:

      Exactly, they have a constitutional right under Dale to exclude blacks, and not allowing them $1 a year rent because of that, under the brilliant logic of this brain-dead jury, would be unconstitutional. It’s all bullshit, the city will win if they appeal. I’m not even sure why there was a trial here. This seems to be a pretty basic question of law to me. The judge should set aside the verdict immediately, and enter a judgment for the city.

      • Bryan says:

        How will the city win on appeal? The city did not bring any legal reason for them to evict the scouts. If you don’t understand the issue and history of the case, don’t comment and look like a clueless dolt.

  • Tantum Ergo says:

    Do we not all discriminate between what we see as good and evil? Conservative Christians see the evil NOT as the PEOPLE with same-sex attraction; but the the ACTING on it. Homosexual acts are hedonistically sterile, and are in violation of God’s revealed law. Christians simply want no part of this culture, and I’m sorry, but homosexuals bring it with them. The Constitution gives us all the right to practice our religion, therefore this was a very good, a very just, decision.

    • John K. says:

      Drop dead! You have a right to practice your religion, but not with my money!

      • vcheck says:

        What money John Scouts never recieved any money from City. Scouts paid to have that building built. And the Scouts never recieved money from the city to mantained that building.

  • KJ says:

    Won’t stand on appeal. This case has already been decided at a federal level.

    • John K. says:

      Exactly, again, I don’t even quite know why there was a jury trial. I guess there may have been some minute questions of fact, but the jury got the law completely wrong. The city can’t punish the Scouts for their views, but taking away a special financial benefit from them, one they are in NO WAY entitled to, is not an unconstitutional “punishment.” The government has broad discretion to decide how to spend its money. They give tax breaks for all sorts of reasons that favor one point of view over others. The federal government can’t constitutionally set the drinking age, but it can deny highway funding to states that don’t set the drinking age at 21 (and that’s exactly what it has done). This case is very similar, and the verdict will be overturned.

    • Bryan says:

      This was a federal trial. How won’t this stand at appeal, if it even gets an appeal? The city tried to illegally evict the scouts from their building. You can have your skewed view about scouts, but they aren’t doing anything wrong. The city is wasting people’s time and money in trying to please a small minority in the city. Nutter is only adding to his defeat in 2011 if he decides to continue this further.

  • Mike says:

    This will be appealed. There is a clause in the lease which says they can be evicted for ANY reason; and if that doesn’t work, the city should just pick another reason. I don’t want my tax $$$ going to subsidize discrimination.

  • modern man says:

    Wow! Somebody finally gets it right! It is about time the LGBT community gets shut out… they have too much access to children already!

  • Sandy says:

    It’s crazy that without legal protections an employer can fire someone just for being gay, but a gay employer cannot fire a Christian employee who is rabidly homophobic. Hatred of gays is protected by religious toleration clauses both in the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act, while gays have no such protections of their own. Very sad.

  • Brian Miller says:

    As a Philadelphia taxpayer, I am annoyed that this private religious organization — which sued to get itself recognized as such by the Supreme Court — is claiming a special right to public taxpayer subsidies.

    While the BSA claims that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, polytheistic, agnostic and atheist Philadelphians are “immoral” and “substandard,” it certainly isn’t being shy to help itself to their paychecks in the form of a city subsidy.

    Meanwhile, the extra $200K a year in city-provided free rent provides the top two executives with a lavish combined pay package of over $400,000 annually, while everyday Philadelphians get our shrinking checks nicked to support these wealthy haters. Great.

    • Bryan says:

      How are the scouts being subsidized? The city has spent a red cent on this property for 81 years.

  • Saddened says:

    Even though I have fond memories of being a boy scout, I am saddened by this decision. What kind of message are the scout leaders sending to their scouts? That is it ok to discriminate against LGBT youth. That is wrong. I hope the city of Philadelphia appeals.

    • trey_trey says:

      A jury that consists of the citizens of Philadelphia say the Boy Scouts have a right to exclude LGBT youth. I applaud the decision. This country would be much better off with more sensible juries, such as this one! Bravo, Philadelphia… Bravo!

      • Amber says:

        Right, what a victory. Why don’t we allow all employers to exclude all gay people and let them starve. Bravo!

      • Brian Miller says:

        The ruling wasn’t one of exclusion. After all, the LGBT (and atheist, polytheist and agnostic) people excluded from active participation in the BSA still get to subsidize its activities (and $400K+ in salaries for its top two leaders in Philly) through city income tax.

      • John K. says:

        Too bad the jury was brain-dead when it comes to the law. So are you. I hope the same thing comes back to you and your children.

    • Bryan says:

      No the scouts aren’t sending this message. The LGBT are the ones that brought this issue up, they are the ones that are degrading those that are questioning their sexuality. When I was in scouts, sexuality wasn’t mentioned because it wasn’t an issue. When I advanced through the ranks, I wasn’t asked what my preference was. When I applied to work at a Scout Camp, I wasn’t asked if I was gay. The scouts policy have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy because they are not going to have witchhunts in their ranks of volunteers and scouts.

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