"The San Diego facility was exclusively used for Boy Scout
functions," council spokesman Brett Beck said Friday. The Newport
Beach sea base is "open to any organized group," he said.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Napoleon Jones Jr. sided with a
lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of
two boys raised by a lesbian couple and an agnostic family that
challenged the Boy Scouts Desert-Pacific Council's lease for land in
Balboa Park. The scout group pays $1 per year.
Jordan Budd, the legal director of the ACLU of San Diego and
Imperial Counties, argued that the scouts received special treatment
because of the special deal.
Beck said the Newport Beach base doesn't get preferential
treatment because the base is open to any member of the public who
wants to use it. That would include a gay or agnostic group, Beck
Beck said the group does not view its lease as a subsidy.
"We're not making any money on it," Beck said. "The county is the
one getting the subsidy here."
Budd did not return several calls seeking comment. Calls to the
ACLU's Los Angeles office were also not returned on Friday.
In September 2000, Orange County renewed its lease with the sea
base, which sits on county tidelands. The Board of Supervisors
renewed the lease for 30 years, beginning in 2006, over the
objections of gay-rights groups and the ACLU.
At the time, Supervisors Jim Silva and Tom Wilson said they
supported the extension because the sea base benefits all children in
the county. They also said the Scouts could not discriminate against
* PAUL CLINTON covers the environment, business and politics. He
may be reached at (949) 764-4330 or by e-mail at