American Bar Association condemns LGBT ‘freedom to discriminate’ laws

Delegates look on as U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks during the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates meeting August 9, 2010 in San Francisco, California.

The American Bar Association has condemned a wave of state laws permitting discrimination against LGBT+ people in adoption and foster care.

Over the past several years, Republican lawmakers across the US have sought to pass legislation seeking to undermine LGBT+ equality, granting specific license to discriminate to religious institutions.

‘Freedom to discriminate’ laws in adoption and foster care have been enacted in 10 US states—North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia and Michigan.

American Bar Association calls for ‘prompt repeal’ of anti-LGBT adoption laws

The resolution passed by the American Bar Association, which represents more than 400,000 lawyers and law students across the US, explicitly condemns the ‘freedom to discriminate rules’

It states: “opposes “laws, regulations, and rules or practices that discriminate against LGBT individuals in the exercise of the fundamental right to parent.”

The resolution adds: “The American Bar Association urges lawmakers in jurisdictions where such discriminatory laws, regulations, and practices exist to promptly repeal them and ensure the equal protection of all LGBT individuals under the law.

“The American Bar Association urges bar associations and attorneys to defend victims of anti-LGBT discrimination, and to recognize and support their colleagues taking on this work.”

American Bar Association: A carving's on the front of the U.S. Supreme Court building reads 'Equal Justice Under Law'

A carving’s on the front of the U.S. Supreme Court building reads ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ (Mark Wilson/Getty)

According to the Washington Blade, the vote to accept the resolution at the ABA’s January 28 Las Vegas conference was unanimous, with no one speaking in opposition.

LGBT+ campaigners hail backing of American Bar Association

The resolution was welcomed by LGBT+ campaigners, who noted that the Trump administration recently granted South Carolina a waiver to permit anti-LGBT discrimination by state-funded adoption services.

The National LGBT Bar Association, which represents LGBT+ lawyers, said: “The LGBT Bar is delighted and proud that the American Bar Association has recognised the fundamental right of all Americans to parent, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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“We are one step closer to full equality under the law with the passage of Resolution 113.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO at GLAAD, said: “The American Bar Association not only voiced its support for LGBTQ families, but they just took an important stand that could accelerate acceptance for LGBTQ families everywhere.

“As the Trump Administration tries to erase LGBTQ Americans at every turn, the ABA’s resolution stands to change the conversation on how LGBTQ-based policies are litigated in a court room and in state and federal governments.”

It’s not the first time the American Bar Association has backed LGBT+ rights, having previously backed legal efforts to end gay cure therapy.

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An ABA resolution urged all “federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments to enact laws that prohibit state-licensed professionals from using conversion therapy on minors,” and to “protect minors, particularly minors in their care, from being subjected to conversion therapy by state-licensed professionals.”

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