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Wake Up, Boy Scouts -- Hate Costs Money

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In Philadelphia, the city got serious about what they will and will not support. The Boy Scouts of America, always getting a free ride for their program, will now have to pay going rates for the space.

The organization's Cradle of Liberty Council, which currently pays $1 a year in rent, must pay the increased amount to remain in its downtown building past May 31, Fairmount Park Commission president Robert N.C. Nix said Wednesday.

City officials say they cannot legally rent taxpayer-owned property for a nominal sum to a private organization that discriminates.

Mark that increase from $1 to $200,000.

On one hand, it's almost archaic to think of an organization that bans certain members of our society. Makes you think of fat-necked relics like Hootie Johnson of August National Golf Club, boasting his right to exclude blacks, Jews and women.

And of course, the queers. In fact, I don't think that's even on the charter. Why bother saying what goes without question?

You can't do that in Philadelphia anymore. No free rides from the city and a written, directed policy to ban gays.

And while the organization can cry the children will suffer, claiming the additional dollars "would have to come from programs. That's 30 new Cub Scout packs, or 800 needy kids going to our summer camp," it seems to me there is a very quick way to deal with the situation that won't cost a penny.

Change the policy of banning gay scouts.

It's time to take on the national organization's decision to ban gays. Here in Massachusetts, I've been approached about having my sons join the scouts. With a wink and a promise, I'm told that no one around here would ever entertain banning a gay scout.

Yet, technically, as a lesbian mom, I would not be allowed to participate in any of the activities. Sorry, the boys' dads are gay, too. And none of us are too keen on having our kids join a group that has fought legally for the right to exclude their parents.

Not to mention I find the oath a little creepy -- obey the Scout Law? On my honor? Duty to country? Sounds like a military recruitment poster. I do like the part of the Scout law that requires being clean. After cutting my son Jake's nails last night, I think clean is a good thing to have emphasized from every direction.

A word of advice to the Boy Scouts of America -- laws are changing. Your history is of a group grown from the roots of a progressive movement of the early 1900s, concerned with the social welfare of boys.

Pointing to the poor children who will be denied services is a poorly thought out choice. Instead of welcoming all boys, you will punish needy members. The irony is you have thousands of gay scouts participating right now. Local groups ignore the policy left and right, not just in Massachusetts but also all over the country.

Wake up, Boy Scouts -- hate costs money.

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