Well, last night after returning from a wonderful dinner with my Dad and his wife (including the best dirty martini I’ve had in a long while (thank you, Maureen!)), I went through my e-mail and read articles I had previously just skimmed on the decision of the law firm King & Spalding to end its representation of the “Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives on the constitutional issues regarding Section III of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.” While I was aware of HRC’s involvement in the efforts to intimidate influence the law firm, dubbing them a “hissy fit” in a previous post, it seems the left-wing organization threw more than just a “hissy fit,” but instead mounted a concerted effort to get the law firm to drop this bipartisan group of federal elected officials as a client.
The latest round got started this morning, when the Weekly Standardpublished an internal email from the Human Rights Campaign detailing that HRC had “contacted many of the firm’s clients” as part of its campaign to get King and Spalding to drop the case. Right wing bloggers, such as Jennifer Rubin, are pouncing on this as proof that the left engaged in an “unprincipled campaign” of intimidation to deprive the House of Representatives of legal representation.
Far from being abashed about this campaign, Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, shared new details about it. He confirmed to me that his group did indeed contact King and Spalding clients to let them know that the group viewed the firm’s defense of DOMA as unacceptable.
You’d think they have better things to do with their time. Instead of developing strategies to reach out to social conservatives and offer arguments about treating gay individuals with dignity or work with gay Republicans to develop better arguments about the merits of state recognition of same-sex unions, HRC has been busying itself trying to deprive an elected branch of the federal government of legal counsel in its defense of legislation enacted in accordance with the provisions of the United States Constitution.
Even Attorney General Eric Holder is defending “former Solicitor General Paul Clement, after gay rights advocates criticized his decision to take on the defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in court.” Clement quit his job at King & Spalding when the firm dropped the case.
That HRC would go to such great lengths to get a law firm to drop its defense of DOMA come as no surprise to us nor to other gay people familiar with the work of this left-wing outfit. They have long since stopped being, as Sargent styles them, a “gay advocacy group”. They’re not advocating for gay people, but instead seeking to deprive their adversaries of the opportunity to defend their positions. Indeed, they’re behaving as if their adversaries don’t even have a right to their defense.
And they’re celebrating a law firms decision that has earned it rebuke from jurists “on both sides of the ideological divide“.
Shouldn’t a gay advocacy organization welcome a good debate as it would give their side a chance to rebut their adversaries’ points with strong arguments that can sway not only federal judges but also the American people — and our elected officials? But, like all too many gay leftists, HRC has been doing its utmost to avoid a debate. They just want the issue settled. And settled the way they want it settled without political cost to their preferred political party.
The issue here is simple and one we’ve long discussed on this blog. HRC doesn’t want to have a conversation on gay marriage. They just want it to be known that the other side is wrong and bigoted. And hateful and nasty, horrible, no good and very bad, very, very, very bad to boot.
The debate on state recognition of same-sex unions is one of the most important conversations on social issues that we should be having in America — and across the world. We should seek to understand why marriage evolved as an institution uniting two people of different sexes. And why it has endured as the basic social unit in nearly every culture on all the inhabited continents. And not just today, but throughout recorded human history. Now, with gay people becoming more open about our sexuality, at least in Western societies (and some in east and south Asia), we should be asking if an institution which has, by and large, worked so well for different-sex couples for so long can also benefit same-sex ones. And why state recognition of such couples benefits not just the individuals who seek the benefits of the institution, but also the society in which they live.
Let’s not act as if those who oppose state recognition of gay marriage or who defend the constitutionality of DOMA are mean-spirited bigots, but understand that they are, on the whole, people who hold their positions in good faith and with great regard for our nation’s governing charter. And great respect for the rule of law.
Let’s have that conversation. Let’s let those who support the traditional definition of marriage have their say. Let’s listen to their arguments and not dismiss them as bigoted or hateful. And let’s respond to those arguments in good faith, respecting their concerns, addressing their misunderstandings and confronting their fears. As we begin that conversation, let’s ask the HRC bring in new leaders who might better be able to join the debate.