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Jury Deliberates in Philly Boy Scout Trial

Jury Deliberates in Philly Boy Scout Trial


Jury deliberations began Wednesday in the federal trial over whether a local Boy Scouts chapter in Philadelphia should be allowed to lease a city-owned building at $1 per year despite the national organization's ban on gays.

During the trial, which included testimony from gay former Eagle Scout Greg Lattera, lawyers for Philadelphia argued that the antigay policy of the Boy Scouts of America ran counter to the city's nondiscrimination laws. Lawyers for the Boy Scouts attempted to portray the Cradle of Liberty Council as victim of a gay agenda in closing arguments Tuesday, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

"The scouts' attorney argued that gay rights activists plotted, with the help of sympathetic city officials, to force the scouts out of their building near Logan Square," reported the Inquirer. "The city countered that it was forced to act after the scouts issued a news release announcing their decision to forbid gay scouts or troop leaders.

"At issue is a 1928 lease that made available to the scouts a half-acre of city land at 22d and Winter Streets, about a block from Logan Square, for $1 a year. In 2007, after years of negotiations, the city said it would not subsidize discrimination and ordered the Cradle of Liberty Council to vacate the property or start paying $200,000 a year in rent."

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the BSA is a "membership organization" with the right to exclude gay scouts and leaders.

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