Legal matters relating to the LGBT community have always been controversial; even so, LGBT advocates are increasingly attacking not just outspoken anti-LGBT advocates but even mainstream conservative organizations that happen to disagree with the view that homosexual marriage is on par with heterosexual relationships.
In a move that is sure to alarm many in the legal community, the LGBT Bar Association has started an official petition asking members of the legal community not to cooperate with conservative legal groups that defend traditional marriage, including the Alliance Defending Freedom and Liberty Counsel.
These two particular groups were likely named not just because of their support for traditional marriage, but also their success in obtaining important religious-rights victories in Supreme Court cases. Furthermore, the LGBT Bar Association has made it clear that their efforts to combat conservative legal organizations doesn’t just center on same-sex marriage and LGBT rights as the petition clearly states that it is asking for all lawyers to cease all forms of cooperation with conservative legal organizations even on matters unrelated to LGBT rights.
Thankfully, the petition hasn’t gotten very far; in fact, it currently has only a few dozen signatures. However, the fact that a legal agency thinks that it can try to force lawyers to avoid controversial legal matters sets a dangerous precedent. The job of a lawyer is to provide legal counsel to a client, and for hundreds of years lawyers have done just that without regard for the crime that the client may have been accused of committing, what the government thought about the client and the legal issues at stake. Conversely, government lawyers have defended policies that were unpopular with the general public simply because it was their job to do so. The right to legal representation is a cornerstone of democracy; without legal help, people throughout the nation would face injustice without recourse for relief.
Unfortunately, the move to silence conservative lawyers isn’t new. In 2016, the American Bar Association changed its Model Rules of Professional Conduct for American lawyers to state that lawyers should not manifest bias or prejudice against others. The guidelines, which are both broad and vague, encompass not only a lawyer’s professional conduct but also his or her personal life. A lawyer who makes a politically incorrect comment on issues such as gay marriage, surrogacy and/or adoption rights for gay couples, transgender rights or other currently controversial issues could be disciplined or even lose his or her law license if a state were to adopt the ABA’s Model Conduct standard as law.
Given the fact that there are some in the legal profession who are seeking to get rid of lawyers who take on controversial cases related to religious freedom and conservative values, it is not surprising that current Attorney General Jeff Sessions has opted to create a religious liberty task force to protect and promote religious liberty. While the move has generated a great deal of controversy from those who fear that such a task force would be used to infringe on their own rights, the fact remains that guaranteeing rights for religious people doesn’t automatically take away the rights of non-religious organizations and individuals.
Not all lawyers want or even should participate in cases involving the defense of traditional marriage and values; however, those who do opt to participate in these cases should be able to do so without harassment or having to face legal repercussions simply for doing their job and defending people who hold to politically incorrect points of view. If pro-LGBT activists succeed in their efforts to prevent conservative legal organizations from providing proper legal representation to those in need, they may find that they have started a descent down a slippery slope towards repression of individual rights.
After all, if it is unethical to defend people who don’t approve of same-sex marriage, why would it be acceptable to provide legal representation to those accused of even worse crimes such as murder, terrorism or child abuse? Providing legal representation to all is the only way to ensure the country remains a free democracy where people have freedom of belief and expression.
~ Liberty Planet