US SCOUTS IGNORE DEADLINE

The Philadelphia branch of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has ignored a December 3 deadline to change its anti-gay stance or face eviction by the city.

BSA has been given rent-free use of prime city-owned property since 1928, but it has now come into conflict with city officials over its policies.

The organisation denies membership to gays and atheists, which goes against laws not allowing the city to support entities that are discriminatory.

The BSA Philadelphia chapter was given notice that it would be evicted by May 31 2008 if it did not change its policy. A compromise was offered by the city which would allow the scouts to continue to use the property if they pay $200,000 annual rent.

The organisation has ignored the deadline to either agree to pay the rent or change its homophobic membership rules.

A statement issued by the city on Monday said that it would allow the chapter “to respond to the city’s notice before the city considers appropriate next steps.”

The BSA Philadelphia chapter attempted to adopt a non-discriminatory policy towards gays in 2003 but this was disallowed by the Boy Scouts of America head office. Over the years, both youths and adults have had their memberships revoked as a result of the BSA’s membership rules.

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