City of Philadelphia Adds $199,999 to Boy Scout HQ Rent Due to Gay Ban - U2 Feedback

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Old 10-17-2007, 10:13 PM   #1
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City of Philadelphia Adds $199,999 to Boy Scout HQ Rent Due to Gay Ban

http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news...r_gay_ban.html

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

By Joseph A. Slobodzian

INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Boy Scouts of America's refusal to bend its rules to permit gay scouts will cost the organization's local chapter $200,000 a year if it wishes to keep its headquarters in a city-owned building on Logan Square.

Representatives of the Boy Scouts of America's Cradle of Liberty Council were notified that to remain in their 79-year-old landmark headquarters, they needed to pay the city a "fair market" rent, Fairmount Park Commission president Robert N.C. Nix said Wednesday. Currently, the rent is $1 a year.

The city decided on the rent proposal after it was unable to reach a compromise with the local scout council in talks that have gone on since May.

"Once we know what the Cradle of Liberty Boy Scouts want to do, we'll probably want to weigh in with the city about how to proceed," Nix told the park commission.

Barring a resolution, the Cradle of Liberty Council - about 64,000 scouts in Philadelphia and parts of Delaware and Montgomery Counties - must vacate the property at 22d and Winter Streets after May 31.

"It's disappointing, and it's certainly a threat," said Jeff Jubelirer, a spokesman for Cradle of Liberty Council, referring to the rent's impact on the scouts' chances of staying on the site.

Jubelirer said that $200,000 a year in rent "would have to come from programs. That's 30 new Cub Scout packs, or 800 needy kids going to our summer camp."

Nevertheless, Jubelirer said, scouting officials will ask City Solicitor Romulo L. Diaz Jr. for details on the real estate appraisals that yielded the $200,000 rent figure.

Cradle of Liberty officials have said they could not renounce the scouts' long-established policy of not opening membership to atheists or openly gay people without running afoul of their charter with the scouts' National Council.

City officials have said they could not legally rent taxpayer-owned property for a dollar a year to a private organization that discriminates.

The land belongs to the City of Philadelphia but has been leased since 1928 for that token sum to the scouts, who built the landmark Beaux Arts building.

That lease came into question only after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2000 in a New Jersey case involving an openly gay scout who was barred from serving as troop leader.

The high court in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale ruled, 5-4, that the scouts, as a private organization, have a right of "expressive association" under the First Amendment to set their own membership rules.

The scouts have long required members to swear an oath of duty to God, and their rules prohibit membership by anyone who is openly homosexual. For that reason, scouting officials initially greeted the Supreme Court's ruling as a victory.

That mood quickly evaporated, however, as local government officials around the nation began reexamining long-standing preferential relationships with scouts.

Unlike the scouts, public officials are also bound by a line of Supreme Court opinions barring taxpayer support of any group that discriminates.

In Philadelphia, officials wrestled for months for a way to let the scouts remain at their longtime headquarters.

At one point in 2005, the city and scouts seemed poised to agree on a policy statement adopted by New York scouts. That statement, while not renouncing the bars against atheist or gay members, affirmed that "prejudice, intolerance and unlawful discrimination in any form are unacceptable."

But last year, Diaz wrote Cradle of Liberty Council officials to say the suggested policy statement could not be reconciled with the city's own anti-discriminatory fair-practices ordinance.

Again, both sides began trading proposals. That ended May 31, when City Council voted 16-1 to authorize ending the lease with Cradle of Liberty Council.

The resolution was introduced unexpectedly by Councilman Darrell L. Clarke and passed, 16-1, with no debate.

Both Clarke, a Center City Democrat whose district includes the scouts building, and Diaz, a prominent member of the city's gay community, said they hoped the resolution would spur talks to resolve the dispute.

Nix said Wednesday that those talks had apparently failed, leading to the lease proposal.
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:36 PM   #2
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Being a "private organization" is a real bitch, isn't it?
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:38 PM   #3
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Good.
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:57 PM   #4
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Haha good on you Philly.
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Old 10-18-2007, 07:13 AM   #5
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IS this just this chapter of scouts or ALL scouts in america?

I was in scouts as a kids, and we had a gay scout troop leader (he was soooooo funny!) and i would NEVER have swore allegiance to god *coughsplutter* in fact i don't think there was one religious thing in scouts!

we just went camping, tied knots and made fires!
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:13 AM   #6
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Things like this are part of why I love Philadelphia
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by dazzlingamy
IS this just this chapter of scouts or ALL scouts in america?
It's "Boy Scouts of America" policy, so every chapter that belongs to this association (which is the largest in the US according to wikipedia) is barring atheists and gays from being member.

This reminds me of the South Park episode that dealt with the topic. Apparently this organisation is lead by some dickheads.

I loved being with scout groups to Hungary in 1993. We got the opportunity because my father was asked to drive a bus there, and he said "Only when I can bring my family." It was Danish and German scouts, but neither religion nor sexuality was any topic there.
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by dazzlingamy
we just went camping, tied knots and made fires!
That sounds mighty kinky!

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Old 10-19-2007, 12:59 AM   #9
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Awesome!
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Old 10-19-2007, 09:01 AM   #10
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Agreed. While I think scouting is a good thing for boys, I have a problem with the no gays/no athiests thing.

I didn't realize that scouts couldn't be gay, I knew scout leaders had to be straight but I didn't think/know that extended to the scouts.
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Old 10-19-2007, 09:14 AM   #11
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Originally posted by indra


That sounds mighty kinky!

hahahaha

come to think of it... one time we were camping, (me being the only girl in a 5 strong boy troop) we played dare double dare, and one of the boys was dared to run around the campfire with his pants around his ankles. I was might unimpressed by what i saw that night! (mind you he was 12 at the time! hahaha)
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Old 10-20-2007, 11:36 AM   #12
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Originally posted by CTU2fan

I didn't realize that scouts couldn't be gay, I knew scout leaders had to be straight but I didn't think/know that extended to the scouts.
It doesn't. That's not true.
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Old 10-20-2007, 11:50 AM   #13
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i think the BSA discrimiation against gays and atheists is unconscionable.

however, my first boyfriend was an Eagle Scout, so, obviously it's not closed to gay kids. i don't think.
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Old 10-20-2007, 12:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
i think the BSA discrimiation against gays and atheists is unconscionable.

however, my first boyfriend was an Eagle Scout, so, obviously it's not closed to gay kids. i don't think.
Actually, I think it is. They forbid atheists, since they insist on belief in a higher power, and they forbid gays, since they insist that it goes against their oaths to be "morally straight" or something or the other.

Where this all gets really stupid is that, theoretically speaking, you could easily get a religious person whose denomination has absolutely nothing against homosexuality at all, since the Scouts don't demand everyone be Christian. However, as usual, it seems like "morality" is defined by (*shock* ) a group of conservative Christians. I guess everyone else's beliefs don't count.
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Old 10-21-2007, 12:16 AM   #15
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I think that the Boy Scouts organization already gets a lot of crap from everyone to have be forced to do something like that. It's a delicate subject, really, because, like in the army, you do get to spend a lot of time with the other boys in your troop.
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