April 25, 2011 / 6:05 PM / 6 years ago

Clement breaks with King & Spalding over Marriage Act

NEW YORK (Reuters Legal) - The law firm King & Spalding broke with one of its partners, Paul Clement, on Monday over Clement's work defending an anti-gay-marriage law.

Clement said he was resigning from his firm, King & Spalding, shortly after it said it had moved to withdraw as counsel in the matter.

Clement said he was not resigning because of any strongly held views over the statute, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

"Instead, I resign out of the firmly-held belief that a representation should not be abandoned because the client's legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters."

King & Spalding had come under fire after Clement, who was Solicitor General under President George W. Bush, accepted the case.

The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, said on April 18 the firm "should be ashamed of associating themselves with an effort to deny rights of their fellow citizens."

In a statement on Monday, King & Spalding chairman Robert Hays said the firm had made a mistake in accepting the case, but did not give further reasons for seeking to withdraw.

"In reviewing this assignment further, I determined that the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate," he said.

Clement was not immediately available for comment. In his resignation letter, which was published on the legal blog "Above the Law," Clement said he would continue to represent his client as an attorney at Bancroft. That lobbying and litigation boutique was founded by Viet Dinh, former U.S. assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush.

Reporting by Leigh Jones of Reuters Legal; Additional reporting by Erin Geiger Smith of Reuters Legal; Editing by Jerry Norton

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