Friday, February 7, 2014
S.C. Ethics Committee Proposes Dropping Military, Youth Organization Exceptions to Gay Bias Ban
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The California Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Code of Judicial Ethics said yesterday it has been authorized by the court to circulate for comment proposed amendments to the code.
The most significant amendments would affect canon 2C’s ban on membership in organizations that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. One exception applies to military organizations, the other to nonprofit youth organizations such as the Boy Scouts.
The military exception is no longer needed, the committee said, in the wake of the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the opening up of military service to gay, lesbian, and bisexual personnel.
The youth organization exception, the committee said, “is anomalous and inconsistent with other principles in the canons.” The committee noted that the Boy Scouts of America recently announced its decision to permit openly gay boys to participate as scouts until age 18, but to continue its bar against gay and lesbian adults as troop leaders or in other leadership positions.
In its “Invitation to Comment,” the committee noted that the rule against judges belonging to groups that discriminate against gays was adopted in 1996.
The youth-organizations exception has been contentious. Many judges and lawyers opposed its adoption, and bar groups in several counties have been working to eliminate it for more than a decade.
The deadline for comment is April 15, 2014. The invitation to comment is posted on the California Courts website at http://www.courts.ca.gov/policyadmin-invitationstocomment.htm.
Comments should be sent to Ms. Camilla Kieliger, Administrative Office of the Courts, Legal Services Office, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, California 94102, the committee said.
The committee is chaired by Justice Richard Fybel of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Div. Three.
Copyright 2014, Metropolitan News Company