Thursday, January 03, 2008
You may remember Stephen Dunne, the Massachusetts law school graduate who, when he narrowly failed the state bar exam, sued the Board of Bar Examiners (among others), claiming he refused to answer a question related to same-sex marriage because it violated his Catholic faith and his First Amendment rights. He subsequently withdrew the suit in the face of a motion to dismiss.
Now, Dunne has written a letter of apology to Bay Windows, a GLBT newspaper in Massachusetts.
[I]n his letter, Dunne said his suit was "misguided" and that he was "lashing out as a result of failing the bar exam." "I am deeply sorry for the hurt that I have caused the gay community," Dunne wrote. As far as we can tell after interviewing Dunne on Dec. 24, he's not headed off to jail, rehab or Oprah - in fact, he said he's studying to take the bar exam again - so we give him props for his public mea culpa.The newspaper also conducted an interview with Dunne, in which he said:
I think I failed by a fraction of a point and I skipped a question that was 30 points. So I obviously failed myself. In retrospect I should have been a lot more secular in my thinking processes and should have separated religion from the outset, from the law. And you know it's hard to get into the mindset of where I was once because I've, you know, changed - progressed so much since then. I think sometimes religions get in the way of rational thought.That's a lot of progress for a few months. This is as close as he comes to explaining it:
When you read people's blogs, people's letters, you read how they feel, I think it changes you; it can be for the betterment of yourself, of your own personal progress. It amazes me how many Google hits there are under the topic of the federal lawsuit or the complaint, whatever words you put in to search ... it's incredible how much response this lawsuit has generated. ... I'm very apologetic to the fact - I feel like because of my misguided beliefs at the time, I was an instrument of bigotry and prejudice. And I think this can be a positive thing. I really think I can show that it is possible to progress and to change the mind and change the heart. It is possible to be open-minded and be a vehicle for change.A cynic might look at the fact that Dunne is studying to take the bar exam again and, should he pass, he will have to face a character and fitness evaluation by the Massachusetts bar in order to be admitted. Asked why he decided to make a public apology, Dunne said:
I suppose it comes down to personal accountability and personal responsibility. You know, if you've done wrong you must sincerely apologize otherwise you're not remedying the wrong. If you're sincere you have a responsibility to apologize. If you have a change of heart, a change of mind you have to let people know that ...I suppose we should just leave it at that.
Your statement above concerning that a "cynic" may view the apology as an attempt to pass the character and fitness interview, which follows passing the bar, seems very similar to the thoughts expressed in another blog covering the case. If you're more-or-less quoting someone, you should cite them. If you aren't, then what a coincidence.
But no, other than the article in Bay Windows, the only things I read about Dunne in the past few months were the items I linked to.