When the Atlanta law firm of King and Spalding agreed to be part of a legal group representing the U.S. House of Representatives regarding the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), from which the Obama administration withdrew its defense, citing its unconstitutionality, the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community was up in arms.
Dyana Bagby, of theGAVoice.com, wrote in “Atlantans jump in to scold King & Spalding for defending DOMA,” that the large LGBT population community in the city voiced its amazement at the firm that prided itself on being gay-friendly.
The firm, facing criticism from influential groups like the National Human Rights Campaign, as well as a concerted email crusade to alert others to the firm’s agreeing to defend what is in their minds a discriminatory act, decided to change course.
The firm withdrew its inclusion in the legal group without comment, according to Charles Edwards, of pbaonline, in “D.O.M.A. Defense Moves On Without King and Spaulding.” Now, the firm is facing criticism from conservative groups like the Liberty Council whose founder, Matt Staber, expressed shock at its withdrawal and capitulation to political considerations.
The firm also lost a prominent partner, Paul Clement, whose client was the U.S. House, as a result of the decision to withdraw. He resigned to work for another law firm, Bancroft PLLC, and will continue to represent the chamber.
Despite praise from local LGBT groups and the National Human Rights Campaign, the latter’s spokesman, Michael Cole Schwartz, wondered how King and Spaulding would rehabilitate its reputation in the LGBT community and among its own employees.