Dear Marriage Supporter,
You've heard the news—King & Spalding, a major U.S. law firm, buckled under pressure from the Human Rights Campaign, reneging on its contract to represent the U.S. House of Representatives in defending the Defense of Marriage Act.
It's a wonderful story of the courage of one man, Paul Clement, standing firm in the face of political pressure, even resigning his position at the firm in order to do what he knows is right.
But there's more to the story, and the fallout for King & Spalding keeps spreading.
"We're There Until You Need Us!"
Today, NOM is launching a new media campaign to expose and hold King & Spalding accountable for abandoning their client, abandoning the American people, and abandoning marriage. Visit WereThereUntilYouNeedUs.com to sign the petition and send a message to King & Spalding's leadership today!
King & Spalding have been widely criticized for their decision to abandon their client by both supporters and opponents of gay marriage, as well as legal ethicists, media voices, and even Attorney General Eric Holder and Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.
Even gay marriage advocates like Andrew Sullivan and Jonathan Rauch have criticized the efforts to bully DOMA defenders into silence. Ted Olson, the one-time conservative now attacking Prop 8, told the L.A. Times, "I don't know of anything comparable to this. You have to be willing to stand your ground."
And the Wall Street Journal mocked "Knave and Spalding," declaring that "once a firm takes on a client it is the firmest of legal obligations to see a case through save for a clear conflict of interest. To drop a case under political pressure is especially unethical. . . . As for King and Spalding, better not turn your back on its lawyers in a firefight."
Their clients are starting to take notice, too. Last Friday, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli fired Kirk & Spalding, telling the firm:
"King & Spalding's willingness to drop a client, the U.S. House of Representatives, in connection with the lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was such an obsequious act of weakness that I feel compelled to end your legal association with Virginia so that there is no chance that one of my legal clients will be put in the embarrassing and difficult situation like the client you walked away from, the House of Representatives."
Days later, the National Rifle Association (NRA) dropped King & Spalding, explaining that when they retain outside counsel, "we expect them to zealously advocate for our interests and not abandon the representation due to pressure from those who may disagree with us."
Other states and organizations who need to be able to count on their lawyers to uphold ethical obligations to their clients may want to look for other counsel as well.
NOM's "We're There Until You Need Us" campaign highlights the obvious—that King & Spalding has shirked its client responsibilities simply because their client advocated a cause unpopular in some quarters. But representing clients facing contentious issues is exactly what lawyers are supposed to do. It would appear that King & Spalding believe that murderers and terrorists are entitled to representation, but the nation's marriage law is not.
It's no wonder that they have come under intense criticism from both the left and the right. They have shown cowardice under pressure, proving they have no principles or integrity.
Then—and this is key—please forward this email on to your friends and family. The mainstream media would like nothing better than for this story to quickly blow over and be forgotten. And most Americans haven't even heard of King & Spalding's cowardice when it comes to defending marriage and the American people. So help spread the word today!
Brian S. Brown
National Organization for Marriage