Editorial: Gay marriage ruling a bonus for lawyers

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer

It’s been almost three months since the U.S. Supreme Court announced its 5-4 decision legalizing gay marriage, building on the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection of the laws” to strike down the definition in some states, including Ohio, of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Now come the several lawyers who participated in the Ohio portion of the litigation, requesting that the state’s taxpayers pick up the $1.72 million tab in legal fees and expenses— a number that includes a 50 percent bonus because the case “resulted in a landmark Supreme Court decision.”

Similar requests have been filed by attorneys for the Kentucky and Michigan plaintiffs in the combined case.

If this compensation is granted by U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black— whose ruling the Supreme Court upheld in deciding the case —it will be a bitter pill for many Ohioans to swallow. But it appears that the law is on the plaintiffs’ side.

The request relies on a 1976 civil rights law that provides for the awarding of legal fees— including “reasonable” attorneys’ fees —to plaintiffs who prevail in civil rights cases. The intent was to empower people whose civil rights had been violated to seek justice in the courts without facing an insurmountable financial burden…

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer

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