The 78-page motion for summary judgment — with dozens of accompanying exhibits — was filed March 15 with U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter.
“The city simply is not willing to subsidize an organization’s discrimination against vulnerable youth who are stigmatized and degraded by the Scouts’ maintenance and application of its exclusionary policies,” the filing states.
Providing rental subsidies to the Cradle of Liberty Council has become intolerable because it gives the impression that exceptions to the city’s anti-bias policy can be made for a “well-financed, influential and entrenched group,” the motion states.
The motion is accompanied by an affidavit signed by R. Duane Perry of the LGBT Working Group, stating that the Cradle of Liberty Council’s former executive director attributed a suicide to the Scouts’ antigay policy.
“On one or more occasions, the Boy Scouts’ then-executive director, William T. Dwyer 3d, told us that he personally opposed the Boy Scouts’ policy of discrimination, because discrimination is wrong and because of a suicide that he attributed to that policy,” Perry’s affidavit states.
Perry couldn’t be reached for comment.
Dwyer, who resigned as executive director in October 2009, couldn’t be reached for comment. The council issued the following statement about Perry’s affidavit:
“The [council] cannot personally speak for Mr. Dwyer, as he is no longer the executive director. However, the allegations made in the affidavit in question have no relation to the current litigation and are simply unfounded conjecture.”
The Scouts filed a motion March 19 seeking to strike Perry’s affidavit from the record on the basis that it was introduced by the city after the discovery phase had concluded.
Buckwalter hadn’t ruled on the Scouts’ motion at press time.
A federal trial on the Scouts’ eviction from 231-251 N. 22nd St. is scheduled to begin April 21. But the trial could be postponed or if Buckwalter disposes of the case before it reaches a jury, obviated.
In November 2009, Buckwalter granted a preliminary injunction blocking the Scouts’ eviction, noting that the city may be enforcing its gay-rights ordinance against the Scouts in an unconstitutional manner.
Since that time, the Scouts haven’t proven their eviction would be unconstitutional, and the city has shown that it’s well within its rights to evict the Scouts, according to the city’s March 15 motion.
“The city did not single out the Boy Scouts’ lease for review, but was drawn to evaluate it in light of the publicity over the Boy Scouts’ discrimination against gays, and the complaints the city received in regard to that discrimination,” the motion states.
The Scouts have refused to sign a lease with comprehensive anti-bias language covering gays and other protected categories. In prior filings, the Scouts noted that several city tenants haven’t signed such comprehensive leases.
In its motion, the city explained the lack of uniform leases.
“The city has limited resources and, although it has begun to review its many lease and license arrangements for compliance with city law and policy, it has not completed its review and the initial focus has been on verifying the properties are properly insured,” the motion states.
City officials initially requested $200,000 in annual rent from the Scouts, but they’ve recently reduced the annual rental fee to $160,000, based on a new assessment that takes into account the downturn in the economy.
If Buckwalter grants the city’s summary-judgment motion, the city would agree to close the case if the Scouts pay approximately $100,000 to cover back rent and vacate the property, the motion states.
Earlier this month, the Scouts filed their own motion for summary judgment, asking Buckwalter to order their right to remain in the building permanently — without paying rent or permitting openly gay participants.
The judge isn’t expected to rule on either side’s summary-judgment motion prior to the March 30 bond hearing to determine how much the Scouts must put aside to protect the city’s interest in the case. The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 30 in Courtroom 14A of the U.S. Courthouse, 601 Market St.
In a related matter, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund Inc. and Mazzoni Center — along with a coalition of other groups and individuals — have requested permission to file friend-of-the-court briefs backing the city’s position.
At press time, Buckwalter hadn’t ruled on the requests.
Timothy Cwiek can be reached at (215) 625-8501 ext. 208.