Saturday, July 07, 2007

For fundamentalists, it's always the gays who are to blame

Ampersand has a great post up at Alas, A Blog

Fundamentalist Flunks Bar Exam And Sues Because Of Exam Question Involving Lesbians
I suggest people go read it and the comments. The rest of this post will be about the article he linked to in the post.

He links to a story in the Boston Herald: Bar-exam flunker sues: Wannabe rejects gay-wed question, law

A Boston man who failed the Massachusetts bar exam has filed a federal lawsuit claiming his refusal to answer a test question - related to gay marriage - caused him to flunk the test.

Stephen Dunne, 30, is suing the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, claiming the “inappropriate” test question violated his religious convictions and his First Amendment rights. Answering the question, Dunne claims, would imply he endorsed gay marriage and parenting.

The suit also challenges the constitutionality of the 2003 SJC ruling that made Massachusetts the nation’s first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Dunne, who describes himself as a Christian and a Democrat, is seeking $9.75 million in damages and wants a jury to prohibit the Board of Bar Examiners from considering the question in his passage of the exam and to order it removed from all future exams.

“There’s a different forum for that contemporary issue to be discussed, and it’s inappropriate to be on a professional licensing examination,” Dunne told the Herald. “You don’t see questions about partial-birth abortion or abortion on there.”

I might be wrong, but a bar exam is about showing that you have sufficient understanding of the law to become a lawyer. So, in so much the contemporary issues are law-related, they should be reflected in the "professional licensing examination".

If you are against the laws, that's very fine, and you're free to work on getting them changed. However, it doesn't change the fact that they are the current laws, and you are supposed to know and understand them to become a lawyer. If you find it impossible to do so, then law is the wrong field for you, much like becoming a butcher is probably a bad choice for a vegetarian.

The worst part is that the question that he was asked, wasn't actually about the special status that homosexuals have in Mass. compared to other states. The article included it.

“Yesterday, Jane got drunk and hit (her spouse) Mary with a baseball bat, breaking Mary’s leg, when she learned that Mary was having an affair with Lisa,” the bar exam question stated. “As a result, Mary decided to end her marriage with Jane in order to live in her house with Philip, Charles and Lisa. What are the rights of Mary and Jane?”

Notice something? It doesn't matter if it was a homosexual couple or a mixed gender couple. But to Stephen Dunne it was a litmus test to weed out people like him. In a sense he is right, but only insofar that all questions in the test are litmus tests to weed out people like him - people who are incompetent and unsuited to practice law. It looks like it worked in this case.

Oh, and I am looking forward to hearing all the right-wings decrying this frivolous lawsuit. There haven't been such a clear-cut example of one in quite a few years.

Zuzu has more over at Majikthise

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Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

Being asked a question about current law violates his First Amendment rights and religious convictions?

Then he'd make a pretty poor lawyer, unless he advertised that he'd only take Christian Law Cases (tm) - and even then, if he can't bring himself to acknowledge laws he doesn't personally approve of, he'd have been a bad choice for representation.

Sheesh. Do Catholics not have to know about laws affecting second marriages?

July 08, 2007 8:21 PM  

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