King & Spalding Withdraws Its Defense of DOMA

Scales of JusticeHey, did you hear? King & Spalding has withdrawn from the fight for the Defense of Marriage Act (it’s true). And while this is exciting news to certain folks, the GOP won’t soon be hard-up for finding a firm to help them.

Indeed, nearly simultaneous with the announcement that King & Spalding won’t be working to defend this pox on equality any longer, Mr. Paul Clemens (previously lead counsel on the case) announced that he would be leaving the firm and continuing on with the defense of DOMA elsewhere.

Still, in the wake of this announcement, there has been a web-based round of applause from the organizations typically on the side of our community, praising the King & Spalding decision.

And the firm’s decision to abort its alignment with disgraceful, anti-American legislation is, if nothing else, a testament to shame and the power of the light cast by it. As it turns out, shame is a powerful influence in helping along the evolution of outdated political viewpoints.

Don’t get me wrong, as an attorney, I want to win on the merits: I want to win, but not because DOMA and the right-wingers who love it can’t find good or even great attorneys, but because it is bad for American families. Because Constitutional rights shouldn’t be subject to vote or majority-rule. Because, at the end of the day, it’s un-American.

But the battle against DOMA has been a long run (and it’s far from over), so I’ll take a glimmer of modern-day-thinking wherever I can find it. With King & Spalding’s announcement comes the reminder: DOMA’s days are numbered. And the ones calling for its defense are becoming fewer and further between every day.

When DOMA falls, your marriage (or the one you’re planning now) will take a huge step closer to even-footing with your straight neighbors’. And then all of our families will be able to breathe a collective sigh of relief.

As always, we welcome your questions and encourage you to ask them before your Big Day.

Legally Yours,

Heather & Emily


Photo Credit: © Tmcnem | Dreamstime.com

Heather McCabe and Emily Russell are family law practitioners who regularly serve the LGBT community in all kinds of legal affairs – from adoptions to dissolutions/divorces. McCabe has taught family law and legal writing and has been on the faculty at Georgetown Law, American University, and University of Baltimore. Russell worked as a lobbyist before coming to the law. Whether through document drafting, mediation, collaborative law, or litigation, McCabe and Russell are committed to the creation and security of the unique families they serve.