Jury selection got under way Monday in a gay rights case that could settle a long-running dispute between local Boy Scouts and the city of Philadelphia.
At issue is whether the local scouts group, the Cradle of Liberty Council, should be allowed to stay rent-free in its city-owned headquarters, despite the Boy Scouts of America’s national policy banning gays.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says to get free rent, the local Scouts needed to renounce the national Scout organization’s admission policies excluding gays.
The lawsuit filed by the Scouts contends that the mayor’s demand violates their First Amendment rights.
The city has an ordinance saying that groups can’t discriminate based on sexual orientation, and it says the Scouts can rent their space, but can’t get free office space.
The Scouts haves occupied the downtown building since 1928.