July 26, 2018
First, LGBT activists wanted conservatives out of the wedding business. Then came professional sports, the restaurant industry, big tech, teaching, broadcasting, the police force, fire department, local government, the Olympics, military, counseling, adoption and foster care. What's left? According to one extremist group, the law.
The legal profession has already seen its share of bullying from LGBT extremists. In at least four states, judges have been threatened, suspended, or otherwise punished for their marriage views. In two states, they've been professionally disciplined. Of course, there's been an effort to shun lawyers who express any sort of support for natural marriage for years. In the 2011 case that toppled the Defense of Marriage Act, Paul Clement was forced to quit defending DOMA or resign when the law firm where he was a partner, King and Spalding, withdrew from the case. Now, one nonprofit organization wants to take the injustice even farther -- launching a petition to keep attorneys from working with conservative legal groups at all.
The LGBT Bar Association is hoping to persuade people that mainstream organizations like Liberty Counsel and Alliance Defending Freedom are waging "a systematic, insidious, and well-funded crusade to strip protections from LGBT people." Executive Director D'Arcy Kemnitz cites the Masterpiece Cakes suit as one example (which is ironic, since the only person who was stripped of protections before that case was Christian baker Jack Phillips). Still, Kemnitz insists, extremists need to band together and refuse to collaborate with conservative firms. "When you help anti-LGBT legal groups," he argues, "even on matters not relating to LGBT issues, you hurt LGBT people."
In the group's "Commit 2 Inclusion" petition, signers from the legal community agree to "publicly object to the anti-LGBT legal groups which operate within the United States legal system, including groups operating as Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and Liberty Counsel... We, the undersigned members of the legal community, commit to inclusion by ensuring that our personal pro bono and volunteer capacity and personal financial resources will not be used to support the work of ADF and Liberty Counsel."
So far, the petition hasn't gotten a lot of traction -- probably because the legal profession, like the rest of us, see this pledge for what it is: another declaration of intolerance. Worse, that declaration comes from a profession with a tradition of defending unpopular ideas. The LGBT Bar wants to deny their opponents access to justice and the courts, which undermines the legal system's own principles!
In the end, the people who avoid a debate are the ones scared of losing. They scream about freedom when it suits their purpose, only to deny others the freedom to even be heard. As First Liberty's Ken Klukowski has said, "The truth is never afraid of a good fight. At the core of the First Amendment is the idea that people must be free to speak because the best ideas should win in the end..." Like so many people outside the mainstream, this group's call for tolerance is just a cover for social tyranny. If the LGBT Bar Association wants to be taken seriously (a tall task after this stunt), it should start being an advocate for the law -- not for the small and intolerant cabal that wants to undermine society.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.