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Florida Supreme Court to Hear Argument in Florida Bar Case Regarding Homosexual Adoption

April 21, 2009

Tomorrow the Florida Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the case of Liberty Counsel v. The Florida Bar. Earlier this year Liberty Counsel filed a petition at the Florida Supreme Court, arguing that the Bar should remain neutral in the state’s homosexual adoption controversy. 

Presenting oral argument will be Mathew Staver, Dean of Liberty University School of Law and Founder of Liberty Counsel. The argument will be streamed live on WFSU, beginning at 10:00 AM at www.wfsu.org/gavel2gavel/index.php. Dean Staver will be available for interviews immediately after the argument.

In addition to Liberty Counsel, the Petitioners include Anita Staver, President of Liberty Counsel, and Scott Dixon, affiliate attorney for Liberty Counsel.

Liberty Counsel filed a Petition with the Court after the Bar’s Family Law Section received approval from the Bar to file an amicus brief, asking a state court of appeal to overturn a Florida law banning homosexual adoption. The Bar has already admitted to the Court that it cannot take sides on homosexual adoption or any other issue that has the potential of causing deep philosophical or emotional division among a substantial segment of the Bar.

The Bar creates and controls many voluntary sections and governs them according to Standing Rules. The Bar Standing Rules 8.10 (a)(3) and 9.50 (a)(3) state that a section may not lobby or file an amicus brief on an issue that “carries the potential of deep philosophical or emotional division among a substantial segment of the membership of the bar.”

In 2004 and 2005, the Bar refused to allow the Family Law Section to lobby against the homosexual adoption law, because doing so would violate Standing Rule 9.50 (a)(3). In 2004, pointing to Standing Rule 8.10, the Bar Executive Committee denied the Elder Law Section from filing an amicus brief in the Terri Schiavo case on the right to privacy issue.

Commenting on the case, Staver said: “The Florida Bar must remain neutral on matters that do not relate to the regulation of attorneys. The wisdom of the neutrality rule is obvious. The Bar is authorized to require compulsory membership for the limited purpose of regulating lawyers and advancing the science of jurisprudence. It may not become an advocate or a referee on politically divisive issues.”

For more information visit the Liberty Counsel website at www.LC.org.