Thursday, December 6, 2007
The Tax-exempt Boy Scouts May Have a First Amendment Right to Discriminate Against Gays, But They Can't Do So on Philadelphia Taxpayers' Dime
On December 4, 2007, the New York Times reported that Philadelphia officials have refused to renew the $1 a year lease to a Boy Scout group of a municipal building where the Scout group has resided since 1928. The dispute between the Philadelphia Council of the Boy Scouts and the City has been going on for a number of years, but has only now recently reached a point of apparent impasse. The Boy Scout group must either agree to pay the $200,000 per year fair market value rent or vacate the City's premises. The Boy Scout group refuses to pay the higher rent or change its policy that discriminates against gays. In 2000, the United States Supreme Court held in a 5-to-4 decision in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640 (2000), a case "involving an openly gay scout from New Jersey who was barred from serving as troop leader," that, "as a private organization, the group had a First Amendment right" to discriminate.
To see the full story, "Boy Scouts Lose Philadelphia Lease in Gay-Rights Fight," go to the New York Times website.