Action by LGBT Bar raises question of ethics

Friday, August 10, 2018
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

law booksA religious liberties law firm says it is under direct attack by the National LGBT Bar Association.

Liberty Counsel says the LGBT Bar is trying to convince lawyers around the country not to help Liberty Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom, and other organizations that fight for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and the sanctity of marriage. Such groups – according to the LGBT Bar's executive director, D'Arcy Kemnitz – "have overseen an army of litigators and waged a systematic, insidious, and well-funded crusade to strip protections from LGBT people."

OneNewsNow spoke with Liberty Counsel's Roger Gannam, who calls the LGBT Bar's move "an unprecedented attack, a direct attack on our ability to practice law."

What might the impact be?

Gannam

"... I think that we're going to weather the storm just fine because the people who are inclined to help Liberty Counsel most likely aren't going to be persuaded by this campaign," he tells OneNewsNow. "So to a large extent, I think this is PR stunt and a way for this LGBT Bar Association to try to gain some significance or gain some street cred amongst their other LGBT activists."

Gannam says it's one thing to say We don't agree with what Liberty Counsel stands for.

"... But when they start asking lawyers not to help us directly like this, it does raise some ethical concerns in my mind about whether that's really how one group of lawyers ought to be treating another group of lawyers," he continues. "We would never think to do something like this campaign."

'You are not a hate group'

The LGBT Bar's campaign, called "COMMIT to INCLUSION," comes in the wake of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcing the creation of a Religious Liberty Task Force – which the legal director for the pro-LGBT Human Rights Campaign labels as "yet another example of the Trump-Pence White House and Jeff Sessions sanctioning discrimination against LGBTQ people."

On Wednesday evening, Sessions spoke at an event hosted by Alliance Defending Freedom – which, in addition to being called out as "anti-LGBT" by the LGBT Bar is among several conservative groups labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "hate groups."

"You and I may not agree on everything," Sessions said, "but I wanted to come here tonight partially because I wanted to say this: You are not a hate group."

The SPLC, said Sessions, has used its "hate group" designation as a weapon against conservative organizations, not just ADF, "that refused to accept their orthodoxy and choose instead to speak for their conscience and their beliefs."

Sessions did point out that Southern Poverty Law Center is an organization that "has done important work in the South," adding it was "vital work in a pivotal time in history."

OneNewsNow reported in May that ADF was kicked out of an online charity program based on "discredited" information from the SPLC.

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