Matthew Franck on The King & Spalding Skedaddle


In the Public Discourse Matt Franck discusses the weird truth revealed by this incident: it now takes courage to stand up not only for marriage, but for basic norms of institutional integrity:

... intimidation—“mau-mauing the flak-catchers,” Tom Wolfe memorably called it—is now the default tactic of same-sex marriage advocates. What else, for instance, explains the antics of now-retired federal judge Vaughn Walker, who wanted to broadcast the Proposition 8 trial in California, and then broke his promise—and his legal duty—to keep the trial’s video record from public view? What else explains the instantaneous denunciation of all opponents of same-sex marriage as “haters”?

Resistance to such intimidation, in the name of the ethic of institutional integrity, is fast becoming the duty of all persons in positions of institutional responsibility, whatever their private views on homosexuality or same-sex marriage. When we witness such principled resistance, as in the case of Dean Evan Caminker’s decision to stick with Ohio Senator and alumnus Rob Portman as the commencement speaker at the University of Michigan’s law school—despite the outcry of those who object to Portman’s 1996 vote for DOMA as a House member—we should applaud it heartily.

A sage older colleague of mine is fond of saying that integrity is something you can have just by deciding to have it. But you do have to decide. It’s that easy, and that hard. But those who would sacrifice ethics and the integrity of our institutions to the victory of a political cause must be sharply rebuked by fair-minded conservatives and liberals alike.