By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The lawyer who stepped in to defend the federal ban on gay marriage after it was abandoned by the Obama Administration said he will continue to fight for the law in spite of resigning from the law firm that was bullied into dropping the case by homosexual activists.
According to the Weekly Standard, which managed to intercept a series of e-mails from the gay activist group known as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the organization has been bulling U.S. law firms for over a month, warning them not to take on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case. Their intimidation paid off at the Atlanta-based King & Spalding firm where former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement had agreed to take on the case. The HRC strong-armed the firm’s client base, telling them that acceptance of the high-profile case was in violation of the firm’s stated “diversity” policy.
Unconfirmed reports say one of the firm’s largest clients, Coca Cola, had a hand in convincing them to drop the case.
As a result, Clement resigned from the firm and was immediately hired by Bancroft PLLC, a small Washington DC firm in a lateral move, where he plans to continue defending DOMA.
Clement said in his resignation letter “I take this step not because of strongly held views about this statute. Instead, I resign out of the firmly-held belief that a representation should not be abandoned because the client’s legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters. Defending unpopular decisions is what lawyers do.”
Clement became involved in the case after being approached by the U.S. House of Representatives to take up defense of DOMA after President Barack Obama ordered the Justice Department to stop doing so.
The HRC had nothing but praise for King & Spalding’s decision to drop the case. Joe Solomonese of the HRC said “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.”
But outrage is growing at their use of what some are calling “corporate terrorism” in order to circumvent the legal process. Even Attorney General Eric Holder criticized the group’s tactics, calling Clement a “great lawyer who has done a lot of great things for this nation.”
Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage criticized the firm’s decision to quit the case, saying it was the result of “harassing and punishing and intimidating to stop a debate. . . HRC did what it enjoys doing, which is to launch a campaign of cultural intimation. We see this time and time again.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council also weighed in on the issue, and laid the blame at the feet of the President.
“While we agree with Attorney General Eric Holder that those using intimidation to shutdown debate over policies promoting homosexuality have gone too far, it is President Obama and the Attorney General who created these circumstances,” Perkins said. “Attorney General Holder abandoned his clients, the American people, just as surely as King & Spalding abandoned their client, the U.S. House of Representatives. Had President Obama fulfilled his constitutional duties to enforce and defend the law, outside counsel would not have been needed.
“We commend Paul Clement for his commitment to legal ethics and his courage in the face of those seeking to shut down any and all public debate,” concluded Perkins.
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