COLUMBUS (TDB) -- A proposed new code of conduct for state judges makes it clear that discrimination based on sexual orientation is unacceptable. It also says Ohio's judges are banned from membership "in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or sexual orientation." The draft code adds the words sex, ethnicity and sexual orientation.
There are no organizations listed as examples. Perhaps judges would have to stay clear of the Boy Scouts, who have been accused of bias because gays are kept at bay. And there are numerous ethnic clubs that require some proof of heritage to become a member. There is an exemption for the military, which does discriminate against gays via the don't ask, don't tell regulation. The complete text of the proposed code of conduct is available here on the Ohio Supreme Court Web site. Subject to revision and public hearings, the new rules are expected to go into effect sometime later this year.
The proposed rule seems to create a conundrum: Ohio is a state that has enacted a constitutional ban against gay marriage. Thus, some citizens are prohibited from taking part in a marital contract, which is now reserved by law for a man and a woman. Inquiring minds are wondering: Does the state ban against gay marriage mean Ohio has a government that practices "invidious discrimination . . . on the basis of sexual orientation?"
Another change in the code adds the words "domestic partner" to the rules that require financial disclosure and reporting of gifts to judges, their spouses and people living in their households.