Archives – April, 2011
By Adam Bink
With thanks to Sagesse for noting the news, I see the fallout for King & Spaulding continues:
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) is terminating his office’s relationship with law firm King & Spalding after the firm decided to drop its defense of the controversial Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last week.
“King & Spalding’s willingness to drop a client, the U.S. House of Representatives, in connection with the lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was such an obsequious act of weakness that I feel compelled to end your legal association with Virginia so that there is no chance that one of my legal clients will be put in the embarrassing and difficult situation like the client you walked away from, the House of Representatives,” Cuccinelli wrote to firm partner Joseph Lynch in a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner.
According to the letter, Cuccinelli said: “Virginia does not shy away from hiring outside counsel because they may have ongoing professional relationships with people or entities, or on behalf of causes that I, or my office, or Virginia as a whole may not support. But it is crucial for us to be able to trust and rely on the fact that our outside counsel will not desert Virginia due to pressure by an outside group or groups.”
“Virginia seeks firms of committment, [sic] courage, strength and toughness, and unfortunately, what the world has learned of King & Spalding, is that your firm utterly lacks such qualities,” he added, according to the Washington Examiner. He also said that the firm would not be able to reapply for special counsel status for the state of Virginia as long as he was attorney general.
Given the reporting about how Coca-Cola and other firms had complained privately to K&S about taking on the case and the pressure they were receiving, I suspect the heat on the other side of the coin would have been worse if K&S kept the case. Bottom line, though, is that they played with fire and got burned. Kerry Eleveld, formerly of The Advocate, writes:
Exactly why the firm dropped the case is still a bit of a mystery, but LGBT advocacy organizations came out of the box swinging just as soon as the contract went public. The president of Equality Matters, Richard Socarides, appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball saying, “[T]his very prominent national law firm has taken on the defense of this horrific law, and we think it’s deplorable.” And the Human Rights Campaign reportedly contacted large clients of King & Spalding as well as LGBT student groups at top law firms to notify them of the firm’s plan to defend the statute.
Call it a gut feeling, but I have a feeling K&S may have had more to lose on the client side staying with the case than it would have gained from hard-right folks like Cuccinelli signing up with the firm.
By Adam Bink
Last week, I wrote about Courage Campaign’s and AllOut’s emergency petition to save Henry Velandia and Josh Vandiver from being torn apart because of DOMA. Sec. Napolitano has the power to put a moratorium on such deportations.
Late this week, they were interviewed by MSNBC’S Thomas Roberts:
Over 20,000 have signed this emergency petition and we are planning some, well, interesting actions to make sure DHS sees them next week. Please sign and on the following page, you’ll see one-click share options so you can ask a few friends to do so too. Stay tuned.
Cross-posted at Good As You
By Jeremy Hooper
With the following three lines, Family Research Council staffers intend to slight the recently-passed bill that will work to enshrine the historical contributions of LGBT Americans in state’s textbooks, as well as drum up fears that link marriage equality to inclusive teaching. But in reality, they discredit the Prop 8 proponents’ primary point:
Interestingly enough, this issue of how children are educated about sexuality is exactly what turned the tide in Proposition 8′s favor. Most parents wouldn’t dream of injecting these conversations into a public school setting. But they can expect more assaults like this one as homosexuals continue to advance their agenda in the military and other strongholds. [FRC]
Why do we say they discredit? Well because think about it: The Prop 8 fear-mongering to which this FRC writer refers revolved entirely around the argument that same-sex marriages would lead impressionable young students to learn about gay people (quelle horreur!). But groups like FRC succeeded (as it were) in stopping marriage equality in California, and yet inclusive school policies still go on. Legislation like Mark Leno’s FAIR Education Act still passes. Public schools still implement measures to encourage open minds and reduce harassment. Because as we always say when the anti-LGBT forces base their marriage campaigns around public school fears: That regardless of where one stands when it comes teaching children to understand and embrace the full spectrum of the world’s normalcy, the scary storm clouds that the “pro-family” forecasters predict are wholly independent of civil marriage recognition itself.
FRC is now all but admitting it: The school-based ads that we see around every marriage referendum are complete and utter hogwash. So next time one of these campaigns rolls around (and it most surely will), the opposition forces owe it to all of us, pro- and anti-equality, to stop with the crap propaganda and actually own the facts of their discrimination. The one and only way to stop inclusive public schooling is to stop LGBT people from existing. If the one and only way the “pro-family” crowd knows to stop gay people’s marriages is to resort to these asides that are so demonstrably disconnected, then that raises several questions about both their merits and their goals.