Bar-exam flunker sues, blaming failure on gay question
A Boston man has filed a federal lawsuit claiming he failed his state's bar exam because he refused to answer a question about gay marriage that hebelieves was being used as a "screening device."
Stephen Dunne, 30, was denied a licence to practice law after he narrowly flunked the Massachusetts test with a score of 268.866, just shy of the 270 passing grade.
The self-described Christian and Democrat is seeking $9.75 million in damages and will be representing himself in the case.
The lawsuit against the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners & Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court claims the test violated the man's rights and targeted his religious beliefs. The suit also challenges the constitutionality of a 2003 ruling that made Massachusetts the first state in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriage.
Dunne says the bar exam was an inappropriate place for a "morally repugnant and patently offensive" question addressing the rights of two married lesbians concerning their children and property.
The bar exam question, according to the Boston Herald, was: "Yesterday, Jane got drunk and hit (her spouse) Mary with a baseball bat, breaking Mary's leg, when she learned that Mary was having an affair with Lisa. As a result, Mary decided to end her marriage with Jane in order to live in her house with Philip, Charles and Lisa. What are the rights of Mary and Jane?"
According to the lawsuit, Dunneclaims the government is "purposely advancing secular humanism's homosexual agenda."
The "disguised mechanism to screen applicants according to their political ideology has the discriminatory impact of persecuting and oppressing (Dunne's) sincere religious practices and beliefs" protected by the First Amendment, and was "invasive and burdensome," according to the lawsuit filed last month.
Officials with the state bar and the court have declined to comment.
With files from the Associated Press