Is corporate America is urging the Supreme Court of the United States to support same-sex marriage?
More than 200 companies signed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting gay marriage. The brief urges the Supreme Court to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that limits marriage to heterosexual couples, reports Reuters.
Some of the companies that signed the brief include Microsoft, Google, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs.
Previously, most attacks on DOMA had focused on constitutional issues and the right to be married. The businesses that signed the amicus brief took a different tack this time and are attacking the law arguing that it’s a business nuisance.
Generally, the argument is that DOMA forces employers to treat employees with same-sex spouses differently than those with opposite-sex partners, writes Reuters. For example, a company may have to withhold certain benefits to partners of gay employees that would ordinarily be available to a married partner.
Not only may this be discriminatory treatment of employees that contravenes corporate policies, but this disparate treatment also amounts to administrative headaches for corporate human resource departments, the businesses argued. This is especially true when gay marriage is increasingly being accepted on the state level. Yet, employers would still have to meet different accounting standards when it comes to federal matters.
In addition to the challenge on DOMA, another group of businesses plan on filing another amicus brief to challenge Proposition 8 which bans gay marriage in California.
Both cases are expected to be argued before the High Court towards the end of March. The decisions together could represent a major step forward in the civil rights movement of gay Americans and could have significant impacts on employers
Also of note, a group of prominent Republicans such as former advisers to George W. Bush have also filed an amicus brief challenging Proposition 8.
- Businesses call Defense of Marriage Act unfair (The Boston Globe)
- 3 Reasons SCOTUS Can’t Rule on DOMA (FindLaw’s Supreme Court Blog)
- The Defense of Marriage Act and the Call for a Constitutional Amendment (FindLaw)