Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell

(San Francisco, CA, April 25, 2011)—Today, King & Spalding LLP, the law firm hired earlier this month by the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, announced it is withdrawing its representation because the vetting process was “inadequate.” The move prompted the lead King & Spalding lawyer in the case, Paul Clement, to resign from his position at King & Spalding.

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell:

“The Defense of Marriage Act is indefensible and King & Spalding’s withdrawal from its defense is a clear illustration that on occasion a law is so repellent and contrary to our values and ideals, no self-respecting lawyer or law firm can defend it. DOMA does not deserve a lawyer. The Sixth Amendment guarantee of the right to counsel applies to individuals in criminal cases. That critical right assures that when individuals face a loss of liberty through imprisonment, they are entitled to an attorney to argue their defense. But this guarantee has no application to unjust laws. The withdrawal of King & Spalding is a critical tipping point in the legal fight to win freedom and equality for LGBTQ people. It is now clear that no law firm deserving of the respect and support of the mainstream legal and political community will stand on the side of discrimination. We applaud the decision to withdraw and mark this day as a landmark moment in the history of our nation’s commitment to realizing the democratic ideal of equality under the law.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.