Tuesday, January 10, 2006

AP Wire | 01/10/2006 | Berkeley accused of infringing scouts' speech

AP Wire | 01/10/2006 | Berkeley accused of infringing scouts' speech: "Berkeley accused of infringing scouts' speech
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - The city of Berkeley, which was celebrated in the 1960s as the home of the Free Speech Movement, now finds itself accused of violating the First Amendment rights of a group of young sailors connected to the Boy Scouts of America.

Citing a violation of its nondiscrimination policy, the City Council revoked the free berthing the Berkeley Sea Scouts received for six decades. The city targeted the group because the Boy Scouts bar atheist and gay members.

The council's actions were to be tested Tuesday during oral arguments before the California Supreme Court in a case that challenges the legality of removing or withholding public subsidies from groups whose ideals run counter to the government's. Both sides maintain legal precedent is on their side.

City officials told the Sea Scouts in 1998 that the group could retain its berthing subsidy, valued at about $500 monthly, if it either broke from the Boy Scouts or disavowed the policy against gays and atheists."

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