Monday, August 16, 2010

Bar None - American Bar Association Supports Marriage Equality

Lawyers and legal associations are often considered to be staid, conservative groups, slow to change, quick to maintain the status quo.

Last week, The American Bar Association made this resolution at its annual meeting:

"RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges state, territorial, and tribal governments to eliminate all of their legal barriers to civil marriage between two persons of the same sex who are otherwise eligible to marry."

The ABA is the nation’s leading legal organization that recommends judges and sets national standards for attorneys. This resolution was adopted as an affirmation that every American is vested with certain inalienable rights and that all Americans are created equal. The ABA’s action shows that there is a broad consensus among legal scholars and practitioners that that excluding LGBT folks marriage violates their constitutional right to due process and equal protection.

This is a huge step forward and certainly indicative of changing societal attitudes.

Even here in North Carolina our local bar association is looking at making some progress, though nothing quite as dramatic. The NC Bar Association is currently considering an update to the preamble to its Rules of Professional Conduct that would urge lawyers not to discriminate in their practices "on the basis of race, gender, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity." (Those last two are the significant ones.)

It's not exactly marriage equality and equal application of laws to all people, but it's still a start.