Boy Scouts win, can stay in Philadelphia building

    City had evicted group over national policy excluding gays

    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.

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