Boy Scouts sue Philadelphia

May 27, 2008 3:19:35 PM PDT
The Philadelphia Chapter of the Boy Scouts have filed a federal lawsuit to avoid being evicted from their Center City headquarters. The city says the Scouts must pay market-rate rent or leave their building because the Scouts discriminate against gays. The city gave a deadline of Saturday for the group to make a decision.

Jeff Jubelier, spokesman for the Cradle of Liberty Council, which governs local scouting, knows that the deadline for the Scouts to leave their stately headquarters they built off Logan Square is June 1st. "The city's position is that the boy scouts have to either vacate the premises as we've asked by June 1st, or change their policy so they can remain. Or pay rent."

City Solicitor, Shelly Smith, says the "fair market rent" for the building is $200,000 a year. The city had been lending the Scouts the property at 22nd and Winter Streets for a mere one dollar annually. Jubelier says the additional rent would cut into its successful after-school programs. He says the Scouts tried to "do the right thing" and comply with the city's non-discrimination policy, but the National Council ordered them to revoke it in 2003.

Smith says, "It's very difficult because what we consider to be the right thing, sort of tows the line between what national has allowed and what the city is asking for!"

If they refuse to pay us rent, and refuse to vacate the premises, then we contemplate filing an action of ejectment to remove them."

The Scouts filed their lawsuit last Friday. It's still unclear what affect the suit will have on this weekend's deadline imposed by the city.