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Justice Barbara Lenk
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Barbara Lenk, widely heralded as the first openly “gay” judge on the state’s top court, spoke at a homosexual advocacy group’s fundraiser only two days after her confirmation, a move some critics are saying is a clear violation of judicial ethics.
Earlier this year, and shortly after being promoted from the state’s Appellate Court, Lenk was one of the speakers at the 2011 Annual Dinner of the Massachusetts Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Bar Association.
The organization’s own newsletter later confirmed that the dinner helped raise over $13,000 for its annual Alec Gray Scholarship, awarded to a law student who “demonstrates a commitment to and involvement in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.”
But the Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conducts’ Code of Judicial Conduct specifically forbids a judge from using “the prestige of the judicial office” to be a speaker at such an organization’s fundraising events.
MassResistance, a citizen group that monitors homosexual activism within the state, charges that Lenk’s address to the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association – which advertises its work assisting other “gay” lawyers become judges and lobbying for legislation like the state’s pending, controversial bill on transgender rights and hate crimes – constitutes “a clear and arrogant public violation” of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
“Prior to her confirmation, there were those who testified that Lenk would use her role on the court to advance the homosexual agenda, and they were villified in the press for their testimony,” Brian Camenker of MassResistance told WND. “[The Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association] actively lobbies for the transgender rights and hate crimes bill, and Lenk has broken the ethics code to help the group raise money.
“It vindicates those who testified,” he continued. “It looks like Lenk is using her status to advance the homosexual agenda after all.”
The state’s Judicial Code of Conduct, Section 4C(3)(b)(iv) specifically states that a judge “shall not use or permit the use of the prestige of the judicial office for fundraising or membership solicitation.”
In a Supreme Court-sanctioned commentary on the passage, the justices explain more clearly, “A judge must not be a speaker or guest of honor at an organization’s fundraising event, but mere attendance at such an event is permissible if otherwise consistent with this Code. A fundraising event is one where the sponsors’ aim is to raise money to support the organization’s activities beyond the event itself. A laudatory reference to a judge, not announced in advance, does not make the judge a ‘guest of honor’ for purposes of this rule.”
And while Lenk’s attendance at the event is permissible under the Code, The Rainbow Times, an LGBTQ newspaper serving the Northeast, confirmed Lenk as a speaker and quoted her remarks on stage.
Camenker told WND that several complaints, reportedly from both Massachusetts and other states as far away as Florida, have already been filed with the Commission on Judicial Conduct, and MassResistance has provided a simple downloadable form and sample instructions for others to follow suit.