Firm Abandons Defense of Marriage Case, but Lawyer Keeps It

Monday, 25 Apr 2011 02:08 PM

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The law firm that the House GOP hired to defend the federal law banning the recognition of same-sex marriage has bailed on the case after receiving fire from gay rights groups. But the former Bush administration solicitor general who was to handle the case resigned from the firm and will continue on the case, The Washington Post reported.

King and Spalding made the announcement Monday, and the partner who was to handle the case, Paul Clement, announced that he would resign and take the case involving the Defense of Marriage Act with him to a new firm, Bancroft and Associates.

“To be clear, I take this step not because of strongly held views about this statute. My thoughts about the merits of DOMA are as irrelevant as my views about the dozens of federal statutes that I defended as Solicitor General. 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,” he said in a statement, according to the Post.

Congressional Republicans hired the firm after the Justice Department announced it no longer would defend the statute against legal challenges. The government will, however, continue to enforce the law, which bans the government from extending any marriage benefits to same-sex couples.

King and Spalding Chairman Robert Hays said taking the case was a mistake. “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,” Hays said, according to the Post.

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