Philadelphia lost their court case and they're not allowed to charge the Boy Scouts rent to use one of their properties. That doesn't mean the city is giving up:
The jury's answers to the 11 questions on the verdict sheet were "inconsistent," City Solicitor Shelley Smith said, "and when verdict sheets have inconsistent answers, the potential exists that the verdict is flawed. We will be exploring our options."[...]
Under the ordinance that leased the property to the scouts, the city has the right to evict them without giving any reason at all, both sides have agreed.
Asked if the city would take that step, Smith said, "The verdict was just issued today, and we'll be considering all of our options."
First, why was a jury making a decision about the application of the law in a case where both parties agreed to the facts? Maybe a lawyer out there can explain why this wasn't left to a judge, as the 11 questions the jury considered centered around Constitutional law?
After the famous Boy Scouts Supreme Court decision, the implicit agreement was that, if the Boy Scouts are a private member-based club that can discriminate against whomever they please, then they could be denied government subsidies. Hundreds of schools and dozens of cities have cut ties with the organization and not lost lawsuits, and, considering how the questions before the jury hung on how Philadelphia proposed the choice to the Boy Scouts, not the fact that they did, it seems like the city still has plenty of options:
It did find that the city "would have permitted [the scouts] to continue to use its headquarters building on a rent-free basis if [the scouts] repudiated or renounced the policy of the Boy Scouts of America to gays."
The jurors said that position was "not reasonable." Those two responses combined created a finding of an "unconstitutional condition."
During the trial, Bill Dwyer, a retired Cradle of Liberty chief executive, said he and other leaders realized "in our heart of hearts" that "we couldn't repudiate totally the national position. They would put us out of business."
The local scouts cannot be forced to "repudiate a policy that the Supreme Court says is protected," Gosselin had said.
David Smith, a lawyer for the city, told the jury that the city initially accepted the local group's statement that it opposed discrimination, until learning that the chapter used the national group's employment application, which bars hiring homosexuals, as well as atheists and agnostics.
The Constitution protects people's rights to a lot of things, but it doesn't mean that they get free rent. Lawrence v. Texas may have lifted sodomy laws, but you can't get a city to give you a free room for a gay orgy.
Which is where I disagree with the jury. It isn't at all unreasonable to expect a private organization to follow the city's anti-discrimination policy while on city property. The city could only find one gay person who had been kicked out so far, and maybe there was a handful more who were kicked out or stayed out because of the policy. A few gay people in scouting won't destroy the organization.
Now, the local organization may be saying that the national organization would disown them when they say "put us out of business," in which case there's really no reason they couldn't either challenge the national organization or continue on their own. Just saying that they're a different org because they're local, and then saying that they're not homophobic but their boss is, doesn't make it OK. That's just shifting the blame, not eliminating it.
Perhaps this was a fluke decision that'll get reversed in appeal, because I'd hate to see a decision that declares anti-discrimination policies "not reasonable" stand.