Sexuality Proposal Passes Bar Committee
Special Report - October 28, 2010
The Ethics Committee of the State Bar met Thursday, October 28 and passed a controversial provision that could threaten the First Amendment rights of attorneys throughout North Carolina. During today’s meeting, the Ethics Committee voted on the third version of a proposed amendment to the Preamble of the Rules of Professional Conduct that would include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in an “aspirational” non-discrimination statement for attorneys in North Carolina. Jere Royall, director of community impact and counsel for the North Carolina Family Policy Council, spoke at the meeting in opposition to the proposed amendment.
As we have previously reported, the proposed change to the Preamble would state, “While employed or engaged in a professional capacity, a lawyer should not discriminate on the basis of a person’s race, gender, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. This responsibility of non-discrimination does not prohibit a lawyer’s advocacy on any issue.” Among the concerns with the proposal is that the language could be a step toward punishing persons of faith whose beliefs do not align with such a statement. In addition, attorneys point out that expecting attorneys to embrace, encourage, or facilitate the sexual behaviors that would be included under the proposed language represents a violation of the free speech, conscience and religious rights of attorneys who understand that those behaviors cause spiritual, physical, and psychological harm.
If the Executive Committee passes the proposed amendment, it will be considered by the State Bar Councilors at their meeting that begins Friday, October 29 at 8:30 a.m. Lawyers should contact the State Bar Councilors from their district, to express their views on this proposed amendment.
NC Bar's Sexually Oriented Proposal - October 5, 2010
NC Lawyers Consider Changes - July 14, 2010
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