The Arizona Bar Association proposed changing the lawyers creed [pledge] to include sexual orientation and to read as follows:
I will not permit considerations of gender, race, religion, age, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, or social standing to influence my duty of care.
As if echoing the recently signed “Right of Conscious” Legislation allowing doctors to deny patients care due to moral reservations, a group of 30 lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund (“ADF”) make claims that the proposal is “unconstitutional” and would require them to represent clients they find immoral. [On a personal note, does anyone else find it ironic that lawyers are concerned with morality?]
There are numerous potential problems with this sort of bigotry, including defendants’ rights to a speedy trial. Assume for a moment that a person is arrested on charges (be they valid or not) and after weeks or months (or justice forbidding longer) the person is finally prepared, with their Court Appointed lawyer, to go to trial. On a pretrial interview, the Court Appointed lawyer finds out that the defendant is a homosexual and decides he/she can no longer represent this person. Trial is now delayed and additional time is spent in prison. Or worse, trial resumes with a new Court Appointed lawyer who has not been able to properly prepare to represent the defendant. Is this not also unconstitutional?
Oddly enough, the lawyers’ pledge already includes religion, which means a Christian attorney cannot deny an Atheist person proper legal representation solely based upon the religion of that person. Would this not also be a valid, moral argument and thus unconstitutional? Yet the ADF has taken no moral stance on this issue.
I have contacted the ADF and will be providing a follow-up report based upon their response.
Read more at 365gay.