Secular Coalition for Arizona submits comments to Arizona Supreme Court regarding state bar ethical rule change
Recently, the State Bar of Arizona petitioned the Arizona Supreme Court, which oversees the Bar, to reopen for public comment a proposed rule change to the Ethical Rules of the Bar. The proposed change would include “gender identity” as a protected class within the Bar rules and regulations. Attorneys are required to abide by Bar rules in their professional conduct, so this change would ensure that attorneys not be permitted to discriminate against transgender people. In no way does this change require an attorney to represent a transgender individual if they choose not to.
Secular Coalition for Arizona is in favor of the proposed changes and has offered public comments. Read them here.
Members of the Religious Right offered many of the arguments against adopting this rule to the comment period. The Religious Right often claims “religious liberty” to justify its positions—positions which often have the effect of denying equal rights and equal
protection to certain classes of individuals it doesn’t like. In this particular case, the Religious Right is attempting to marginalize transgender individuals.
It should be obvious that the “free exercise of liberty” at the expense of another has nothing to do with liberty, but instead has everything to do with preferential treatment for a particular ideology. No matter one’s personal or religious feelings and beliefs on this and similar issues, favoritism in the law at the expense of someone else’s freedom is inappropriate and contrary to true liberty.
From the General Council for the State Bar of Arizona Petition to Amend:
“This amendment makes it clear that a lawyer who, in the course of his or her legal practice, knowingly manifests, by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based upon race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or socioeconomic status, violates the Ethical Rule because such actions are prejudicial to the administration of justice, with the sole exception that biased or prejudicial comments may be asserted in the form of legitimate advocacy when race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or socioeconomic status are issues in a legal proceeding.”
Read comments by all other organizations and individuals, for and against, here.