The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has responded to criticism that the gay rights group pressured King & Spalding to drop its defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by boasting about its victory.

The Atlanta-based law firm on Monday announced it was withdrawing from the case, prompting partner Paul Clement to jump ship to the Washington-based Bancroft PLLC, where he'll continue to represent House Republicans, who took on defending the law that bans federal recognition of the marriages of gay and lesbian couples after President Obama announced he would no longer because he believes the law is unconstitutional.

Social conservatives immediately chided HRC for pressuring the firm to reverse course.

“Led by the so-called Human Rights Campaign, activists promised to target the firm until its attorneys dropped the case,” said Tony Perkins of the Christian conservative group Family Research Council. “Five days later, they did. Unable – and unwilling – to take the heat, King & Spalding took the cowardly way out. Once again we see how the activists who are trying to redefine marriage want to shut down any and all public debate.”

But the accusations didn't appear to ruffle any feathers at HRC.

“King and Spalding’s clients are listed on its web site, so we did what you would expect us to do,” HRC spokesman Fred Sainz told The Washington Post. “We are an advocacy firm that is dedicated to improving the lives of gays and lesbians. It is incumbent on us to launch a full-throated educational campaign so firms know that these kinds of engagements will reflect on the way your clients and law school recruits think of your firm.”

Sainz acknowledged that his group contacted the firm's clients to inform them that King & Spalding was attempting to have it both ways by defending a discriminatory law while lauding its commitment to diversity.

“We did all of this, and we're proud to have done it,” he added.