'Sexual orientation' clause draws judge's ire

By Jay F. Marks Modified: June 4, 2008 at 1:16 am •  Published: June 4, 2008
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Suggested changes regarding language on "sexual orientation” in the state's Code of Judicial Conduct are inconsistent with the beliefs of Oklahomans, according to an Oklahoma County judge.

"These policies are not based on laws enacted by Congress or the State Legislature, but on proposals of the liberal, pro-homosexual American Bar Association,” District Judge Bill Graves wrote in a letter dated April 8 to Oklahoma Bar Association members.

Graves accused an Oklahoma Bar Association committee of promoting the homosexual agenda because it proposes offering additional protection based on "sexual orientation.”

In the letter, Graves stated the current code of conduct already prohibits discrimination on that basis, but the new proposal could forbid judges from refusing to award children in custody and adoption cases because a person is homosexual.

"Studies have shown that is detrimental to children,” he wrote, adding that such issues should be determined by the Legislature.

Arizona attorney Mark Harrison, who headed the American Bar Association committee that came up with the model code of conduct, denied Graves' suggestion the group is trying to advance an agenda.

He said the anti-discrimination provision won unanimous support from a diverse group of judges, lawyers and academics.

Graves contends the proposal also would prevent judges from being members of groups that discriminate based on "race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”

He also objected to the addition of "gender” and "ethnicity,” but his biggest complaint was "sexual orientation.”

"Sexual orientation” would protect pedophiles, polygamists and homosexuals who practice anal sodomy, defined in state law as "the detestable and abominable crime against nature,” the judge wrote.

"Since homosexual groups cannot succeed in persuading the Legislature to provide such protection, they are making an end run around the constitutional lawmaking processes,” Graves wrote. Read the letter Proposed code of judicial conduct for Oklahoma

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Model code
•The American Bar Association adopted its model code of judicial conduct in February 2007, but no states have approved a revised code. Oklahoma is one of only seven states to complete a report based on that model.

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