Lambda Legal Statement
"We welcome the firm back to the right side of history."
(New York, April 25, 2011) - In reaction to the news that the law firm King & Spalding has withdrawn from representing House leadership in cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act Lambda Legal issued the following statement from Legal Director Jon Davidson:
"Today, we learned once again that it is a bad idea to defend antigay bias and discrimination in court, and fewer and fewer people are willing to do it. We welcome the news that the law firm, King and Spalding, has decided to withdraw from the engagement to represent House leadership in defending DOMA. We were very surprised and disappointed when King and Spalding accepted this assignment, because they have been supporters of LGBT equality in the past. We thought we might have to face them in court as adversaries in our case, Golinski v. OPM - and we were ready to do that. But I guess their sense of justice got the better of them - and that's good news for all of us.
"Some attorney will no doubt accept this job and defend DOMA in court on behalf of the House leaders - that's the way the legal system works. We're just glad it is not a law firm that has shown respect and support for their own LGBT attorneys, for our community and for our fight for equality. We welcome the firm back to the right side of history."
STATEMENT BY EQUALITY MATTERS PRESIDENT RICHARD SOCARIDES: "We commend the partners of King & Spalding for rightly recognizing that their participation in furthering discrimination against gay
Americans was unacceptable. All Americans deserve access to an attorney, but attorneys need to be held accountable for the clients they voluntarily decide to represent. Furthermore, Speaker Boehner has an army of in-house legal talent at the House of Representatives who could ably represent his position in court. If he is serious about cutting the deficit he needs to look to his in-house council to represent him in these proceedings, instead of spending taxpayer dollars for a service already provided to his office."
BACKGROUND - Richard Socarides appeared Friday on MSNBC to push King and Spalding on the DOMA case. To watch the video click here: http://equalitymatters.org/emtv/201104220018
STATEMENT AS RELEASED BY KING AND SPALDING TO REPORTERS:
Robert D. Hays, Jr., the firm's chairman, today made the following statement:
"Today the firm filed a motion to withdraw from its engagement to represent the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives on the constitutional issues regarding Section III of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Last week we worked diligently through the process required for withdrawal.
"In reviewing this assignment further, I determined that the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate. Ultimately I am responsible for any mistakes that occurred and apologize for the challenges this may have created."
HRC Statement on King & Spalding's Decision to Drop DOMA Defense
WASHINGTON — Upon news that the law firm of King & Spalding has filed a motion to withdraw from defense of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act — Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, issued the following statement:
"King & Spalding has rightly chosen to put principle above politics in dropping its involvement in the defense of this discriminatory and patently unconstitutional law. We are pleased to see the firm has decided to stand on the right side of history and remain true to its core values.
"Speaker Boehner is likely to pursue continued defense of this odious law. However, law firms that value LGBT equality should remain committed to those values."
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.