Is Boehner’s pro-DOMA law firm illegally constraining staffs’ pro-gay advocacy?

Sure sounds like it.

All of King & Spalding’s employees – lawyers and non-lawyers – are barred from advocating for the Respect for Marriage Act – the bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act – in the 112th Congress, according to the terms of the contract to defend DOMA that King & Spalding partner Paul Clement signed on the firm’s behalf on April 14.

The contract, which was entered into with U.S. House of Representatives General Counsel Kerry Kircher on behalf of the House’s Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to defend DOMA in court, contains a provision that prohibits all King & Spalding attorneys and non-attorney employees from any advocacy to “alter or amend” DOMA.

Human Rights Campaign vice president of communications Fred Sainz, whose organization has harshly criticized King & Spalding for taking the case, told Metro Weekly, “This particular provision adds insult to injury. Not only is K&S; promoting discrimination, they also are muzzling their own employees from opposing discrimination and doing what’s right.”

What’s more, Jon Davidson, the legal director at Lambda Legal, told Metro Weekly that in some states the provision might be illegal. Davidson specifically pointed to California, where King & Spalding has two offices, in which Labor Code Section 1101 states that “[n]o employer shall make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy … [f]orbidding or preventing employees from engaging or participating in politics ….”

Talking about the statute, which would be applicable in King & Spalding’s San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices, Davidson said, “It’s not just illegal, it’s criminal. It also gives rise to civil liability.”


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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