Gay, Gay Marriage

Countdown to California’s Prop. 8 Showdown

gay marriage skadden.jpgUnless something very strange happens, California’s electoral votes are already spoken for. In fact, we might know the next President long before the California polls close.

But regardless of the national election, there are many reasons why Californians should go vote on November, 4th. For many, Proposition 8 (the initiative to ban gay marriage) will be the signature issue on the ballot.

We have reported on attorneys from Orrick and Proskauer staking out positions on Prop. 8. Yesterday, the Daily Journal did a thorough breakdown of Prop. 8 campaign spending.

The California Marriage Protection Act has prompted more than 2,600 attorneys, judges and law professors to write checks totaling at least $1.6 million, but the committees that oppose the measure received 14 percent more money from the legal community than those who support it, an analysis by the Daily Journal shows.

No Biglaw firm took an “official” stance on the issue, but the Daily Journal reported that attorneys at Knobbe Martens, Sheppard, Mullin, Latham & Watkins, Richter & Hampton and Kirkland & Ellis led in terms of individual contributions.

Additional Prop 8 campaign info after the jump.

A majority of attorneys who gave money were against California’s proposed ban on gay marriage:

Individual donations from the legal community to No on 8 committees outnumbered those to Yes on 8 committees 3-to-1. The ratio doesn’t surprise groups working to defeat the measure that have targeted attorneys as likely allies.

“We knew that lawyers understand how important the law is and would appreciate the enormous significance of changing our Constitution to discriminate against a group of people,” said Shannon Minter, the legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

But there is a vocal minority of the California bar that oppose gay marriage:

Attorneys who contributed to Yes on 8 committees were often sole practitioners and law firm partners in San Diego and Orange counties. Two sole practitioners are general counsel to the two largest committees that support the initiative, Protect Marriage and the National Organization for Marriage.

In all, more than 600 attorneys, judges and law professors generated $738,000 to support the Yes on 8 campaign. Attorneys contacted for this article cited religion, family and judicial activism as the reasons for their support.

But, having reported on Orrick’s internal email battle over the issue, it is worth pointing out where the firm puts its money:

While Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe attorneys raised far more to defeat the initiative than support it, tax partner Dean Criddle’s $5,000 contribution to Yes on 8 prompted an angry e-mail from of counsel Cameron Wolfe, according to the popular legal blog Above the Law.

Californians will be giving the rest of the country a reason to stay up late on election night.

Same-Sex Marriage Initiative Polarizes Legal Community [Daily Journal]

Earlier: Gay Marriage Debate Comes To Proskauer Rose

Orrick’s Internal Battle Over Proposition 8

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