Homosexual activists in the US have hounded a law firm into dumping its defence of a federal law upholding the traditional definition of marriage.
The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman.
But the law firm appointed by the House of Representatives to defend the Act was forced to withdraw after homosexual pressure groups threatened to protest and make calls to its other clients.
The former Solicitor General Paul Clement, has now quit the firm and moved to another so he can continue defending the Act.
Mr Clement said: “I resign out of the firmly held belief that a representation should not be abandoned because a client’s legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters.”
He added: “Defending unpopular clients is what lawyers do.”
He said efforts to make one side of a legal controversy seem less legitimate are a “profound threat to the rule of law”.
Last month President Barack Obama’s administration controversially announced that it would no longer defend DOMA against legal challenges, claiming it is “unconstitutional”. The decision has been heavily criticised.
Following the announcement, Republicans in the House of Representatives have now taken up the defence of DOMA.
Meanwhile in Britain the Government has committed itself to consulting on full homosexual marriage.
The King and Spalding US law firm ditched the DOMA case amid mounting pressure from homosexual groups.
Family campaigners have spoken out against the law firm’s withdrawal. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said he was shocked that the firm “would rather lose their most brilliant and talented Supreme Court lawyer than confront a smear campaign” by gay rights groups.
Penny Nance, the Chief Executive Officer of Concerned Women for America, likened the decision to “caving to extremists under pressure”.
In February a major American fast food chain run by a devout Christian family was branded homophobic for agreeing to provide sandwiches for a pro-marriage seminar.
Opponents called for people to boycott outlets of Chick-Fil-A, which has more than 1,500 outlets in the US, and launched an online petition against the popular chain.