ABA expands bias policy, includes TGs

eBar.com – by Jeffrey M. Johnson

More than three years after a joint commission of the American Bar Association began a review of its Model Code of Judicial Conduct, revisions to the code were adopted this month to include language specific to the LGBT community, most notably including the term “transgender.”

The ABA’s code is used in most smaller states to set standards for courts, and serves as a guide for others. The vote came at the ABA’s mid-year meeting in Miami on February 12.

Jeffrey Gibson, an openly gay attorney and partner with the San Francisco law firm of Goldstein, Gellman, Melbostad, Gibson & Harris, and a representative of the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association to the ABA House of Delegates (one of the groups lobbying for change on behalf of the LGBT community in the ABA), said that the new model code now states that judges shall prohibit bias against attorneys and parties based on gender identity and transgender status.

“This is significant, in my opinion, because while gay and lesbian parties or litigants have become less ‘exotic,’ transgender individuals have not reached that level of common place in much of society,” said Gibson.