Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Scouting kerfluffle

Sunday's paper had a story about Mayor Street being poised to evict the Boy Scouts from their downtown headquarters because of the organization's policies discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Actually, he offered the regional group the chance to either denounce the national policy, leave, or pay market rates; their current deal involves token rent, and the city feels it shouldn't be subsidizing a group whose policies differ from its own. Anyway, I didn't blog this because it felt like the prologue to a story, rather than a story itself.

But now it's ballooning into the sort of thing that gets both liberals and conservatives in a froth; the Scouts are considering taking the city to court, after being caught off-guard by the renewed complaint. And the details are a bit complicated, including that the local scouts agreed to a nondiscriminatory policy a year ago, but they were a bit hedgey about the wording (and have a history of sidestepping earlier agreements of a similar sort), and there are threats that federal funding to the city's housing programs could be endangered if they are accused of holding the Boy Scouts to an unfair standard. The Fairmont Park Commission, which officially owns the building in question, has supported the mayor's stance, but I can't really tell where the motivation is coming from -- City Solicitor Diaz? Gay activists? A lame-duck mayor? mysterious. You can get Albert's take on the whole thing here.


Blogger trace said...

I agree with the city 100%. I've heard (and don't have time to substantiate) that the Boy Scouts are partially funded by federal tax dollars. They have an openly discriminatory policy against gays and that seems like a separation of church and state issue to me. Adding the fact that as a city taxpayer I'm subsidizing them even more by giving them this sweetheart deal makes me angry. For once I'm really happy at something that the mayor is doing.

3:35 PM  

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