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NYT op ed: No big deal that K&S dropped DOMA defense

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Finally someone tells the truth.  Dale Carpenter in the NYT:

The cumulative effect of decades of work by gay-rights advocates was that the best firms and many of the best lawyers were unwilling to defend sodomy laws on constitutional, let alone policy, grounds. The court agreed, holding in Lawrence that such laws demeaned the very existence of gay people.

No serious case can be made that an institution as powerful as Congress has a right to the services of the biggest law firms and the most credentialed lawyers. The Defense of Marriage Act is not unpopular, and while Congress may be indebted, it is not indigent. A thornier question arises when a firm withdraws from a representation, though in this case the quick withdrawal evidently caused no harm to the client. More troubling is the possibility that a firm might quit because of outside economic pressure rather than principle, though it is unclear whether such pressure played a role in this case.

As Mr. Kameny’s lone crusade showed, the legal profession was not in the vanguard of gay rights. Unlike Mr. Kameny, of course, the House will have excellent counsel on its side: a former solicitor general who resigned from King & Spalding to protest its decision. The world of legal professionals is still a diverse one where basic values collide every day. Respectable constitutional arguments for the Defense of Marriage Act will surely be made — but grounded in ideas, one hopes, not contempt.

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