Ruling: Philadelphia Cannot Evict Scouts for Gay Ban

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A jury has ruled the city of Philadelphia cannot evict a Boy Scout chapter from using a city-owned building for refusing to admit gays.

City officials said all local non-profits who are given free use of a building, must abide by anti-discrimination laws.

"We do hope that eventually national (Boy Scouts of America) will change its minds. But at this point, the Cradle of Liberty (Council) is still obligated to follow its policy," said foreman Merrill Arbogast, 40, of Reinholds, a trucker who is also an Eagle Scout.

According to U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter, the city can still terminate the lease under the 1928 agreement, which gives non-profits free rent if they maintained a city-owned site. However, the city can't terminate the lease, because of an organization's views.

"From now on, the Boy Scouts will be negotiating from a position of strength," said lawyer Jason Gosselin, who represents the Scouts. "The city can't come in and impose its views on what the Scouts ought to do."

The Boy Scouts said they could legally limit their membership, because of a 2000 Supreme Court decision. They sued in federal court to stop the eviction.

The Boy Scouts of America bans homosexuals.

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