Philadelphia must pay Scouts, judge rules

March 22, 2012 at 3:21 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, March 22 (UPI) -- Philadelphia owes the Boy Scouts $877,122 after failing to evict the organization from its headquarters over the group's anti-gay policies, a judge ruled.

The city attempted to sell the building to the Cradle of Liberty, the local scouting organization, but legislation to authorize the sale stalled in the City Council when gay-rights advocates protested the transaction. Philadelphia then tried to evict the Boy Scouts from the city-owned building in 2010, but the scouts successfully sued to stay, the Philadelphia Daily News said Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Buckwalter denied the city a new trial Wednesday and ordered Philadelphia to pay the scouts' legal fees in the case, which has dragged on for nearly a decade.

Referring to the failed sale of the building, scouts' attorney Bill McSwain said, "We would have been happy with the transaction but it hit an impasse because City Council refused to vote for it."

Mayor Michael Nutter called the court order "a significant expense" but stressed the city remains opposed to the Boy Scouts' national policy excluding homosexuals.

"We do not, as a city, support that kind of behavior. We've tried to take a number of steps to get the Boy Scouts out of a city-related building," he said.

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