One of the partners in the law firm that just pulled out of the DOMA case, Paul Clement, has resigned, and will continue pursuing the case because he says lawyers should defend “unpopular causes.”
Which is indeed a noble principle, when applied to causes like ending slavery, for example, or fighting for civil rights for African Americans. Fighting for an unpopular cause in the name of justice is one of the loftiest goals a lawyer can aim for.
When applied to the “Defense Of Marriage Act,” though, the word “unpopular” is a distorted rationalization. The objections to this bigoted piece of legislation have nothing to do with its popularity. In fact, DOMA is very popular with the religious fundamentalists who inspired it in the first place.
Let’s say it like it is: the sole reason for the existence of DOMA is to deprive American citizens of rights. And there’s nothing noble about defending that.