Hourly rate the U.S. House planned to pay law firm King & Spalding to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal ban on gay marriage.
The initial cap on congressional payments to King & Spalding, which could be negotiated higher.
What the military spent from 2004 to 2009 to replace gay troops discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ The policy is now being repealed.
Estimated cost of one congressional hearing. Since resuming control of the U.S. House, Republicans have held three on gay issues: Two on repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and one on DOMA.
Freedom to Marry, a national organization dedicated to marriage equality, has released a video showing the impact of the Defense of Marriage Act on one gay couple.
Titled, "Why Ron is Losing His Home: the Defense of Marriage Act," the slightly more than 2-minute video shares the story of Ron Wallen, 77, after the death of his husband and partner of 58 years, Tom Carrollo.
Carrollo and Wallen were legally married in California in 2008 before Proposition 8 was passed, making it now illegal for same-sex couples to marry. When Carrollo died on March 8, 2011, Wallen lost a source of income that may cause him to have to sell their home.
The bad news keeps piling up for the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage.
Just last week, a new CNN/Opinion Research Poll found that a slim majority of Americans actually support marriage equality for same-sex couples. A similar poll conducted by CBS and the Washington Post also found more Americans than ever before support marriage equality.
And, of course, we can't forget the former NOM strategist, Louis Marinelli, who jumped ship in early April and now supports marriage equality. We have a great interview with Marinelli here, by the way.
On the heels of the news that Atlanta-based King & Spalding would not represent the U.S. House of Representatives in the on-going legal battles against the Defense of Marriage Act, NOM announced today that it was launching an investigation into whether the law firm broke any rules of professional conduct or if the firm “acted illegally” in deciding to withdraw from the case.
Paul Clement, the attorney hired by the U.S. House to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, has resigned his position at King & Spalding after the law firm decided not to defend the case, according to Politico.com, a website covering politics and other news.
Politico writer Josh Gerstein shares part of Clement's resignation letter:
"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. Defending unpopular clients is what lawyers do ... I recognized from the outset that this statute implicate very sensitive issues that prompt strong views on both sides. But having undertaken the representation, I believe there is no honorable court for me but to complete it," writes Clement.
Les Zuke, director of communications for King & Spalding, issued a statement this morning that the firm founded in Atlanta would no longer defend DOMA.
“Today the firm filed a motion to withdraw from its engagement to represent the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives on the constitutional issues regarding Section III of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Last week we worked diligently through the process required for withdrawal," Robert D. Hays Jr., the firm's chairperson, said in a statement.
“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 added.
An Atlanta litigation paralegal sent an email to the managing partner of the locally-based King & Spalding law firm to express her dismay at the otherwise gay-friendly firm for its decision to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.
Pam Rymin, who is straight, also took the opportunity to introduce the firm to her co-worker, Joel Tucker, and his husband Robert Todd, who were legally married in Connecticut on June 10, 2010. She is a litigation paralegal with Buckley & Klein, a law firm focused on assisting those who say they have been discriminated against in the workplace.
"When I read yesterday that K&S has agreed to represent the Congressional GOP in its fight to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, thereby seeking to continue to deny civil rights to a large portion of America’s population, I was very dismayed. Actually I was so angry it took me a full day to be calm enough to write this email," Rymin wrote in an email to Mason Stephenson, managing partner of the Atlanta office.
The Human Rights Campaign is calling on supporters to contact their representatives in Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
The Respect for Marriage Act, introduced this week by Rep. Jerrold Nadler and sponsored by more than 100 House members, will repeal DOMA, the 1996 law that restricts federal recognition of marriage to one man and one woman.
According to the HRC:
“The Defense of Marriage Act is denying tens of thousands of legally married lesbian and gay couples across the country more than 1,000 federal protections they deserve. These federal protections of marriage include Social Security survivors' benefits, family and medical leave, equal compensation as federal employees, and immigration rights, among others.”
A U.S. House panel voted March 9 along party lines to direct general counsel to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court following President Obama’s announcement that his administration would no longer defend the statute against litigation.
In a statement, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which he convened last week after the president’s announcement, had come to the conclusion to direct the House General Counsel to defend DOMA after the Wednesday meeting.
“Today, after consultation with the Bipartisan Leadership Advisory Group, the House General Counsel has been directed to initiate a legal defense of this law,” Boehner said. “This action by the House will ensure that this law’s constitutionality is decided by the courts, rather than by the President unilaterally.”