The local BSA Cradle of Liberty Council uses the form, but the extent of its use by Cradle has never been publicly clarified, according to court records.
Existing case law indicates that Cradle has a right to exclude gays and atheists from jobs that directly affect its ability to convey an exclusionary message.
But Cradle doesn’t necessarily have a right to exclude gays and/or atheists from jobs that have minimal interaction with the general public, according to case law.
The city has been locked in a five-year legal battle to evict Cradle from a city-owned building on 22nd Street near the Ben Franklin Parkway.
Throughout the eviction dispute, Cradle hasn’t clarified the extent to which it relies on the application form to screen out gays and/or atheists.
The city’s eviction effort remains pending in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Kera Armstrong, a Cradle spokesperson, didn’t provide a list of Cradle jobs that are open to gays and/or atheists when asked for one by PGN.
Margaret A. Downey, president of the Freethought Society, an advocacy group for atheists, said Cradle needs to clarify its employment opportunities for gays and/or atheists.
If Cradle declines to do so, the city should initiate a probe of its employment practices and release the results to the public, she added.
“I’m very concerned about the damaging effects of Cradle’s behavior — not just on the LGBT community, but also the nontheist community,” Downey said.
Mark McDonald, a spokesperson for the Nutter administration, had no comment about any potential city probe.
Downey also said Cradle’s employment practices are directly linked to its membership policies.
“[Cradle’s] members become its employees, and vice versa,” she noted.
If Cradle is violating workplace-antibias laws, the city should lodge a complaint against the council, and seek an injunction to stop any illegal discrimination, Downey added.
Palma M. Rasmussen, a disability-rights expert, said the pending eviction case shouldn’t stop the city from probing Cradle’s employment practices.
“The eviction case can easily drag on another five years, especially if a new trial is ordered,” Rasmussen said. “Meanwhile, inertia sets in. Nothing gets done. The city shouldn’t be frozen into inaction just because the eviction case is pending. We’re talking about people’s livelihoods.”
Rasmussen added: “The Boy Scouts are pros at working the legal system to delay justice indefinitely. They’ll do whatever they can to delay the process. They’ve done that throughout the country, even in the child-molestation cases. They drag their feet and point the blame in the opposite direction of where they’re standing.”
In a related matter, the BSA job-application form was recently spotlighted on the web site of the Human Rights Campaign.
Due to that exposure, the form has received attention from national media outlets, including Huffington Post and The New York Times.
Dan Rafter, an HRC spokesperson, said BSA should enact an LGBT-inclusive antibias policy that covers membership and employment.
“HRC is advocating for the rights of our community to participate in the Boy Scouts,” Rafter told PGN.
HRC hasn’t taken a position on the legality of BSA’s employment practices, Rafter added.
In May, BSA is expected to announce whether it will stop requiring local troops and councils to ban gays members.
But BSA hasn’t commented on the possibility of ending its ban on gay and/or atheist employees.
Rich Ferraro, a spokesperson for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said GLAAD has joined forces with HRC to spotlight BSA’s job-application form.
GLAAD hasn’t taken a position on the legality of BSA’s employment practices. But the organization is discouraging people from donating to BSA until it enacts an LGBT-inclusive employment and membership policy, Ferraro added.
“There are a lot of dirty little secrets that have come out about the Boy Scouts over the past year, and this job-application form is one of them,” Ferraro said.
He also expressed concern about BSA’s expulsion of a lesbian Cub Scout den mother, Jennifer Tyrrell, and BSA’s dismissal of an openly gay camp counselor, Tim Griffin.
“Our main goal is to stop the discrimination against our community,” Ferraro concluded. “Gay Americans today are bullied enough. We need to stand up and be heard.”