The City of
Philadelphia has decided that the Boy Scouts chapter here
must pay fair-market rent of $200,000 a year for its
city-owned headquarters because it refuses to permit
organization's Cradle of Liberty Council, which currently
pays $1 a year in rent, must pay the increased amount
to remain in its downtown building past May 31,
Fairmount Park Commission president Robert N.C. Nix
say they cannot legally rent taxpayer-owned property for a
nominal sum to a private organization that discriminates.
The city owns the land and the Beaux Arts building
constructed by the Scouts in 1928.
officials will ask the city solicitor for details on the
appraisals that yielded the $200,000 figure, said Jeff
Jubelirer, spokesman for the Cradle of Liberty
The higher rent
money ''would have to come from programs. That's 30 new
Cub Scout packs, or 800 needy kids going to our summer
camp,'' Jubelirer said. ''It's disappointing, and it's
certainly a threat.''
The Supreme Court
ruled in 2000 that the BSA as a private group, has
a First Amendment right to bar gays from membership.
adopted a nondiscrimination policy in 2003 but was ordered
to revoke it by the National Council, which said local
chapters cannot deviate from national rules barring
participation by anyone who is openly gay.
The Cradle of
Liberty Council serves about 64,000 scouts in Philadelphia
and its suburbs. (AP)