The Boy Scouts of America’s Philadelphia chapter has sued the City of Philadelphia in federal court to block the city’s May 31 deadline for the scouts to open membership to gays and atheists, or vacate their historic 1928 headquarters off Logan Square.
The civil rights lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in Center City, contends that the city’s ultimatum violates the scouts’ rights under the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions.
“The City has imposed an unconstitutional condition upon Cradle of Liberty’s receipt of a benefit that Cradle of Liberty has enjoyed for nearly eight decades, and that many other organizations that limit members or services to members of a particular group continue to enjoy without punishment or the threat of punishment,” the scouts’ lawsuit reads.
Not even close to a valid legal argument.First off, I don’t know what “other organizations” these folks are referring to, they (conveniently) don’t give examples.
Second, the Scouts do not have a “right” to cheap rent subsidized by the taxpayer. Local, state and federal government may afford some special dispensation to non-profit groups, but there are stipulations to that arrangement. In this case, the Boy Scouts of America are free to set any rules they wish about membership, just as the KKK may bar blacks, Jews, Catholics and anyone else they wish from membership. However, neither the Klan, nor the BSA may force the taxpayer to subsidize their bigoted beliefs by providing these organizations with public facilities at below-market cost.
If you wish to exclude law-abiding members of society from your little club, you can. But then you pay full fare just like every other private group.
This is a frivolous suit without any legal merit and should be summarily dismissed.