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Liberty Counsel Files Suit to Make the Florida Bar Remain Neutral in Homosexual Adoption Case

Contact: Liberty Counsel Public Relations Department, 800-671-1776

TALLAHASSEE, Fl., Feb. 27 /Standard Newswire/ -- Today Liberty Counsel filed suit at the Florida Supreme Court to make The Florida Bar remain neutral in the homosexual adoption controversy. The First Amendment requires that the mandatory bar association remain neutral on controversial or political issues that have nothing to do with the regulation of attorneys. In addition to Liberty Counsel, the Petitioners include Anita Staver, President of Liberty Counsel, and Scott Dixon, affiliate attorney for Liberty Counsel. Liberty Counsel represents the interests of its staff and affiliate attorneys who are licensed by The Florida Bar.

On January 30, 2009, the Florida Bar Board of Governors voted to authorize the Family Law Section to file an amicus brief in the Third District Court of Appeals against the 1977 Florida law which prohibits those actively engaged in homosexuality from adopting Florida's children. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Keller v. State Bar of California, 496 U.S. 1(1990), ruled that mandatory bar associations like the Florida Bar cannot use member dues to support ideological causes which are not germane to the goals of regulating the legal profession and improving the quality of legal service.

On February 9, 2009, the day Liberty Counsel sent a letter to the Florida Bar demanding that it remain neutral, John White III, President of The Florida Bar, stated publicly that the board "made a big mistake." But on February 19, White responded to Liberty Counsel, acknowledging that The Florida Bar did, in fact, authorize the filing of the amicus brief and stated that the Bar "has no intentions of rescinding its January 30 vote regarding this amicus brief."

Liberty Counsel filed a brief in support of the same law which is now being challenged and which was upheld by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. See Lofton v. Kearney, 358 F.3d 804 (11th Cir. 2004). Liberty Counsel is also filing a brief in the Third District Court of Appeals in support of the 1977 law.

The Florida Bar has become an adversary to its attorneys and judges. Florida judges must be disqualified from a case if any extrajudicial activities cast doubt on the judge's impartiality. Every judicial member of the Family Law Section has now been conflicted from hearing a case involving homosexual adoption.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: "The First Amendment demands that The Florida Bar remain neutral on matters that do not relate to the regulation of attorneys. The bar cannot force attorneys and judges to pay mandatory dues and then position itself as an adversary against them on controversial ideological issues. Florida attorneys want peace, not war, but The Florida Bar has given us no choice, and we will vigorously defend our liberty under the First Amendment."