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'The gay dog ate my bar exam,' cries aspiring lawyer

by Jeremy Hooper

A Massachusetts man is claiming that a question that required applicants to "affirmatively accept, support and promote homosexual marriage and homosexual parenting" led him to fail the state's bar examination, so he's now suing the test administration agency, the state Supreme Judicial Court, and four individual justices for violating his First Amendment rights:

Failed applicant sues bar examiners over test question on gay marriage [National Law Journal]
Dunne v. Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners et al [Justia.com]

News to which every other person who failed along with the applicant responded:

"Oh. Yea. Me Too. Those damn gays! Never mind that gay marriage is legal here in Massachusetts. Or that gay marriages and gay parents are both, in fact, legal realities. Those 'mos and their acceptance-craving ways are stifling my efforts to get my legal on!

And while we're at it, I'd like to also say that my eight grade teacher's '
you must show your work' agenda is what got me that D- back in the early nineties. Oh, oh -- and I still think that stupid preschool teacher's pro-triangle views is what led me to fail my shapes test back in '84! Not to mention that time when my blood pressure test led my doctor to say I needed to watch my cholesterol. Personally, I blame his anti-egg agenda for that bullsh*t! Ooh -- and I almost forgot about that "Test of the Emergency Broadcast System that just this morning interrupted an episode of 'The View'! CLEARLY, they are opposed to my consumption of Elisabeth Hasselbeck's talking points!

Hmm, let's see, what else? Well, I've never felt comfortable with the first half of the clinical name for a man's nuts, so yea, that prefix would seem to be anti-my-tounge. Oh, and whenever someone needs to see if a microphone works, it really pisses me off. So yea, I want to voice a complaint against, 'Test, 1,2,3' as well.

You know, come to think of it, never have I done poorly on a test due to my own shortcomings or performance.

Weird that they all had that same thought, right?

***NOTE: We should mention that we have contacted the man who has filed the lawsuit (the bar one, not the one against the word 'testicle'), Stephen Dunne. We've asked him to shed light on what, exactly, the contentious question said, so we promise to keep you posted if he decides to write us back.

***UPDATE, 7/3: For all of you legal eagles, we have obtained a copy of Mr. Dunne's complaint (pdf). Some samples:

Picture 15-20
Picture 13-26Picture 14-23

***UPDATE2, 7/3: A poster over at Jd Underground has posted the following:

Here is the text of the question
Mary and Jane, both attorneys, were married two years ago in Massachusetts.
The day before their marriage, Mary and Jane each fully disclosed their assets to the other and
signed an antenuptial agreement (the “Agreement”) in which each of them agreed that if they
were ever divorced (i) they would divide any joint marital property evenly, (ii) they would not
seek or accept any property that the other brought into the marriage, and (iii) they would not seek
or accept child support or alimony from the other. The Agreement was drafted and reviewed by
an attorney representing Jane. Mary did not hire an attorney to review the Agreement as she
“trusted Jane.”
At the time of the marriage Jane had a two year old adopted child, Philip, and Mary was
three months pregnant. When Mary gave birth in Boston six months later to Charles, Mary and
Jane were listed on his birth certificate as his parents. Mary has treated and referred to Philip as
her son, although she did not adopt him. Mary, Jane, Philip and Charles lived in a house in
Boston owned by both Mary and Jane. The down payment for this house came only from Mary.
Jane was the sole supporter of the family, while Mary stayed at home taking care of
Philip and Charles. Mary had no savings, while Jane had over a million dollars in savings from
an inheritance that she received when her mother died three years ago.
Yesterday Jane got drunk and hit 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?

So if this is truly the question, all it presents is a situation that truly could come to legal light in gay marriage-allowing Massachusetts. There is nowhere where it's demanded that you have to accept Mary and Jane as moral and legitimate, only as realistic!

**UPDATE, 7/10: According to a tipster, this is a picture of Mr. Dunne.

**UPDATE, 7/10: Stephen Dunne: Bar Exam Flunker [G-A-Y]

space gay-comment gay-G-A-Y-post gay-email gay-writer-jeremy-hooper

Your thoughts

Is there a copy anywhere of the actual question he failed on the exam? It would be funny to see if it is what I think it is - just a benign question about Mass. law pertaining to gays.

Posted by: ColoradoPhil | Jul 3, 2007 12:24:24 PM

ColoradoPhil: Bizarrely, it has yet to be revealed anywhere, including in the formal complaint. We're trying to find someone else who took the bar with Mr. Dunne to get some insight.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 3, 2007 12:26:13 PM

I think that's what it may take. When I was thinking about it more, any licensing exam I've ever taken usually gets very tight-lipped about the actual questions for obvious reasons. Hopefully, you can find someone - I bet it will turn out to be just another dry legal question. Maybe in his upcoming case, the judge will tell him to study more since he obviously missed a lot of questions already. :)

Posted by: ColoradoPhil | Jul 3, 2007 12:35:49 PM

ColoradoPhil: We have the question. See latest update.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 3, 2007 12:39:17 PM

Thanks! That was great... and fast! You have a lot of connections. :)
And you're right, the question is only about the legal situations of these two women, VERY pertinent in a state that allows gay marriage, adoption, etc...
Thanks again! Keep an eye on us here in Colorado. With a Dem governor (finally) and a Dem house and senate, they've already done some pretty cool things in their first year. Not too bad for the state that shelters Focus On the Family :-D

Posted by: ColoradoPhil | Jul 3, 2007 12:53:18 PM

Ha! The actual complaint really tips this nutjob's hand. I think he failed because his tin-foil cap didn't protect his brain from the Secular Humanist rays. Gays! Gays everywhere! Aaaaahhh!!!!

Oh well, he has a job at MassResistance, for sure.

Posted by: Public Lounge | Jul 3, 2007 1:33:10 PM

I love that this guy blames his failure on the one question about gay people- you can get 400 points total on the Mass Bar, 270 is the minimum! He clearly had some other issues with the exam. :)

Posted by: Sara | Jul 3, 2007 2:41:12 PM

Did anyone else notice the question does not actually say it’s about a same sex couple? The question just gives the characters traditionally female names and includes adoption. Technically, it’s the test taker who decided the question was about a same sex couple.

Posted by: Jess | Jul 3, 2007 6:21:54 PM

Actually, if you read carefully, it does refer to each of them as "she" at different points. That being said, there's absolutely nothing in the question that makes it about gay marriage specifically. It's just a question about marriage, etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jul 4, 2007 12:34:13 AM

If Jane's name is changed to Jack (along with any referencing pronouns) for the purposes of the test question being (non "pro" gay) would the rights be any different? I'd like to think the issues are the purpose of question - not the gender of the participants.

Posted by: Lou | Jul 4, 2007 3:17:33 PM

In his complaint, he talks about how the government is trying to 'normalize' something he thinks is abnormal, not that the question was an unfair test of his knowledge of Mass. Law.

I always thought that the Bar exam tested your knowledge of the law, not whether you liked the laws or not.

At least if this suit goes anywhere we may finally learn the details of the 'Secular Humanism's homosexual agenda'. I've asked several of my gay friends for a copy because I didn't seem to have received mine and they just laugh at me!

Posted by: Doodle Bean | Jul 4, 2007 6:55:32 PM

"His lawsuit states he has a law degree from a “prestigious Boston law school,” which he declined to name, and is working on an MBA at an “esteemed Boston business school.”"
Boston Herald

'Ahem if you won't say what the law school is then we must assume that it is a lie! You went to some low level school probally!

Posted by: Smithers | Jul 7, 2007 7:08:09 PM

Stephen Dunne- Bar-exam flunker sues: Wannabe rejects gay-wed question, law

I hate to admit it but I'm related to this ( Stephen Dunne )con-artist/thief. He failed the Pa. Bar exam 4 times and got into serious legal trouble in the Philly area and thought it was time to leave town, back to Boston where he went to school. As a close relative of this scumbag/politician type/ lawyer want to be, I would never ever do any business with this guy because he'd rob you blind and your mother too!!

AND yes that IS a picture of Stephen Dunne!

Posted by: Brutus | Jul 10, 2007 7:36:12 PM

Brutus,you sound like an angry homosexual!

Posted by: tom | Jul 11, 2007 10:53:10 PM

Brutus,you sound like an angry homosexual!

Posted by: tom | Jul 11, 2007 11:01:47 PM


I sincerely wish that somebody or some group would turn around and sue the governments of all the states that do not allow for gay marriage or at least for civil unions (which offer the same legal responsibilities and rights that marriage offers).

This is, in my humble (well, sort of humble) opinion, the laws and such that prevent gay marriage or civil unions are nothing more than simple and plain discrimination because they prevent a sub-section/portion of the population from having the same rights as the other portion of the population.

This little bigot's religious objections should not even be considered because the US was founded upon the principle of the separation of church and state, and his lawsuit is a blatant effort to erode that separation.

His lawsuit should be thrown out of court.

Posted by: Tim | Jul 13, 2007 10:47:35 PM

"If Jane's name is changed to Jack (along with any referencing pronouns) for the purposes of the test question being (non "pro" gay) would the rights be any different? I'd like to think the issues are the purpose of question - not the gender of the participants."

If "Jane" were changed to "Jack," there would not be any difference in the answer to the question to the extent you are applying Massachusetts law (which is all the exam asks you to apply). The fact that it's a same-sex marriage does add complications in the real world, because you'd have to consider federal tax issues and what would happen if one partner moved out of state -- but the exam is clearly not asking for an analysis of those issues.

Posted by: JonboyDC | Jul 16, 2007 7:52:13 AM

The Justia.com link you provided shows that the lawsuit was dismissed on Oct. 9, 2007.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 6, 2008 9:33:03 PM

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