In our opinion: Agreeing to disagree

Published: Monday, May 30 2011 9:20 a.m. MDT

Instead of explaining candidly that lawyers within our adversarial system necessarily represent controversial issues, and instead of abiding by its ethical obligation to provide representation once accepted, King & Spalding abandoned its representation. Clement himself resigned his position at the firm because of his professional ethical duty of loyalty to his client. He will continue to represent the House of Representatives, but his law partners have abandoned him.

In Vidmar's and Clement's cases there was no accusation of personal hostility towards gays or lesbians. Instead they participated in good faith efforts to maintain in law a principled view of conjugal marriage.

Are no attorneys allowed to defend traditional marriage in court? Is the U.S. House of Representatives denied access to representation? Are all who publicly or financially supported Proposition 8, which garnered 53 percent of the vote, now to be excluded from all prominent leadership positions?

We recognize that there are many groups advocating for gay marriage who do not resort to intimidation tactics, who engage in vigorous, issue-focused debate. We commend them for this approach even when we disagree with their arguments.

How our society defines marriage through legislation and litigation is perhaps the most consequential social issue of our day. People of principle find themselves on opposite sides of this issue.

We believe that traditional marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and is necessary for the stable, healthy families that best ensure the sound development of children. We believe that rights to the free exercise of religion of those sharing this view deserve legal protection and respect. And as this historic struggle over marriage moves forward, there should be free and open access to the ballot box and to courts of competent jurisdiction for those sharing such beliefs to make their case without fear of reprisal.

Let us agree to disagree.

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