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Philly Gay Leaders Oppose Boy Scout Deal

Philly Gay Leaders Oppose Boy Scout Deal

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Gay leaders and their allies in Philadelphia are criticizing a proposed settlement between the city and its Boy Scouts group that would allow the organization to purchase a city-owned building at a below-market price in order to end an increasingly costly legal battle stemming from the Scouts' ban on gays.

Under the terms of a tentative deal announced this week by the Scouts and the city, Philadelphia would sell the building in Logan Square, where the Scouts group is headquartered, to the Cradle of Liberty Council for $500,000, less than half its appraised value. The transfer would allow the city to avoid paying nearly $1 million in legal fees after a federal jury ruled this summer that the city had violated the Scouts' constitutional rights by telling the group to leave or begin paying rent. Philadelphia had argued that the Boy Scouts' policy against gay members violated the city's nondiscrimination law.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, "Gay rights advocates say the city's lawyers are putting financial concerns ahead of principle, appearing to subsidize the Scouts' discrimination."

City councilman Darrell Clarke, who represents the area that includes the property, would need to introduce an ordinance in order for the transfer to happen. He called the deal "premature" for not including enough input from residents and the gay community.

A spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter said the administration is hopeful for a swift resolution.

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