Reuters reports that as marriage equality barrels back to the Supreme Court, major law firms are jumping on board, but only on the side of the good guys.
A Reuters review of more than 100 court filings during the past year shows that at least 30 of the country’s largest firms are representing challengers to state laws banning same-sex marriage. Not a single member of the Am Law 200, a commonly used ranking of the largest U.S. firms by revenue, is defending gay marriage prohibitions. These numbers and interviews with lawyers on both sides suggest that the legal industry has reached its Mozilla moment. The software company’s CEO, Brendan Eich, resigned in April after being denounced by gay marriage supporters for a donation he had made in support of California’s since-overturned gay marriage ban. Now in a similar vein, attorneys at major law firms are getting the message that if they want to litigate against gay marriage they should do so elsewhere.
Most of the involved law firms are working pro bono or at reduced rates. Anthony Pugno, lead attorney at Protect Marriage, says there are lawyers at major firms who would gladly defend marriage bans, but they are too “terrified” to speak out to their colleagues. Which is a real shame.