Massachusetts Bar Applicant Sues Mass. Supreme Court & Bar Examiners Over Lesbian Divorce Question

From LifeSite:

BOSTON, Massachusetts, July 3, 2007 ( – A man who was given a failing grade on the Massachusetts bar exam has filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief and damages and is demanding a jury trial, claiming that he failed the exam after refusing to answer an inappropriate question on homosexual marriage.

Besides requesting that bar examiners do not consider the offending question when grading his exam, however, Dunne is also challenging the very constitutionality of the homosexual “marriage” laws in the state of Massachusetts. In the list of defendants Dunne includes the Supreme Judicial Court and the individual Justices.

In his complaint Dunne states “that Supporters of homosexual marriage have successfully legislated morality through the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court,” and “that this act is an unconstitutional violation of the Massachusetts Constitution by the Massachusetts Supreme Court.”

Dunne scored 268.866 on the bar exam, just short of the passing score of 270. A simple pass is all that is required on very demanding bar exams which are the last step to becoming a practicing lawyer in a state.

According to Dunne’s complaint, filed on June 25, the “Defendants” (the Massachusetts Board of Examiners et al.) “have engaged in constitutionally invidious discrimination by including an inappropriate question on the Massachusetts Bar Examination compelling Plaintiff (Dunne) to write an affirmative response explicitly and implicitly accepting, supporting and promoting homosexual marriage & homosexual parenting…as a prerequisite to the practice of law in the State of Massachusetts.”

Brian Rooney, a lawyer and the spokesman for the Thomas More law center, a not-for-profit public interest law firm dedicated to the defense and promotion of the religious freedom of Christians, has analyzed the pertinent documents about Dunne’s case. He told, “It’s a troubling development that a question like this would even be asked. It raises the specter that homosexuality and the homosexual agenda and the lifestyle is becoming the sacred ring that it seems that everyone in the state of Massachussetts would have to kiss in order to be deemed acceptable to do anything in the state, whether to practice law, to practice medicine, to become a politician.”

Although in Dunne’s filed complaint he does not specify which question on the exam he refused to answer, presumably the question that is the subject of Dunne’s complaint is question #4 on the March 1, 2007 Massachusetts bar exam. That question asks examinees to analyze certain legal question surrounding the divorce of a lesbian couple, Mary and Jane.

“Yesterday Jane got drunk and hit Mary with a baseball bat, breaking Mary’s leg, when
she learned that Mary was having an affair with Lisa,” reads the conclusion of the question. “As a result, Mary decided to end her marriage with Jane…What are the rights of Mary and Jane?”

While Rooney said that ultimately he could not say whether Dunne should or should not have answered the question, he said the nature of the question is so “charged” and “distracting” that it should never have been included on the bar exam.

“The whole workup to taking a bar exam is months of studying and preparation, not to mention three years of law school,” said Rooney. “You work yourself up. You take that three years of law school, you cram it into 2 ½ months, trying to learn every aspect of the law that could potentially be tested. You get into the 2 days of testing. You’re tested for 8-10 hours each day. As the spokesman for the Thomas More law center, it’s very troubling to have such a politically charged question on the bar exam that is supposed to be testing your knowledge of the law and how it is to be employed, and they throw in this obvious political question that got Mr. Dunne to be distracted. It would have distracted me, or anyone of faith that believes homosexuality is immoral.”

William F. Kennedy, the chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners, which administers the test, would not comment on the case, reports The National Law Journal. “The complaint is being reviewed,” he said. “We have no comment at this time.”

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