Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia praises King & Spalding for backing out of defense of DOMA

The gay Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia is praising the decision by King & Spalding to not follow through with defending the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act.

In a statement posted to Facebook, Stonewall Bar vice president and president-elect Robert Lewis said he wrote to Robert Hays, the chair of King & Spalding, and King & Spalding’s diversity committee Sam M. Matchett expressing Stonewall Bar’s concerns over the firm’s decision to defend DOMA. Lewis said he also requested King & Spalding “to terminate its representation and its contract with the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group.”

Hays announced in a statement today that King & Spalding would not be defending DOMA. While Hays said it was because the case wasn’t vetted correctly, the decision follows a severe backlash from LGBT activists and allies.

“We believe that this fractured and controversial moment can serve as a catalyst for even greater engagement by King & Spalding – and other legal employers – to help achieve full equality for LGBT Americans,” said Lewis in the statement.

Lewis said he plans to meet with Matchett, who is based in Atlanta, to thank him “for the firm’s decision and to discuss ways it can reaffirm its commitment to diversity and the inclusion of LGBT individuals.”

“While everyone has a right to legal counsel, DOMA does not protect rights for anyone and only takes them away,” Lewis said. “The legal representation of DOMA’s prosecution is unconscionable, and we are thrilled that King & Spalding has made the right decision,” Lewis said.

Matchett has not returned a call from the GA Voice seeking comment.

Stonewall Bar is Georgia’s only bar association focused on diversity and inclusion of LGBT individuals within the legal profession and society.

“We believe that DOMA is discriminatory and based only upon bigotry against LGBT Americans. King & Spalding’s decision represents its commitment to diversity and the rights of LGBT individuals and all minorities,” the statement reads.

King & Spalding is a Platinum Sponor for the Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia.

Brian Basinger, an associate with King & Spalding, is the president of the Stonewall Bar; he has not returned calls seeking comment.