Major Corporations, More Republicans Endorse Gay Marriage
More than 200 businesses filed a brief on Wednesday that urges the Supreme Court to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, Reuters reports.
A number of high profile companies, including Microsoft, Google, Starbucks, Pfizer, Amazon.com and Citigroup, have signed the document. Some of the businesses, as well a number of different corporations, are filing a separate document on Thursday that urges the Supreme Court to nix Proposition 8, the California law that bans same-sex marriage. CNN Money points out Apple, Facebook, eBay, Intel and Morgan Stanley signed the brief related to Prop. 8.
In the brief regarding DOMA, attorney Sabin Willett wrote that the measure "requires that employers treat one employee differently from another, when each is married, and each marriage is equally lawful." He added that DOMA makes business difficult to conduct because the law is not enforced nationwide as 12 states have legalized gay marriage or recognize same-sex marriages that have been performed in other states. He also wrote that DOMA forces businesses to discriminate and sometimes go against its own policies and local law, like when dealing with healthcare plans.
"We must do all of this in states, counties and cities that prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and demand equal treatment of all married individuals," the lawyer wrote.
When it comes to the brief dealing with Prop. 8, the document reads, "By singling out a group for less favorable treatment, Proposition 8 impedes businesses from achieving the market's ideal of efficient operations -- particularly in recruiting, hiring, and retaining talented people who are in the best position to operate at their highest capacity. Amici are competing domestically and internationally with companies inside and outside the United States in places where all couples, regardless of whether they are of the same sex, are afforded equal access to marriage."
On Tuesday, it was reported 75 notable Republicans signed a similar brief to the Supreme Court and urged that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. But as the New York Times points out, more than 100 GOPers have now signed the document, including Beth Myers, a top adviser to Mitt Romney, and Marilyn Musgrave, a retired Colorado congresswoman who strongly opposed marriage equality during her political career.
David Frum, a conservative journalist and former George W. Bush speechwriter, wrote for the Daily Beast and explained why he decided to sign the brief opposing Prop. 8.
"I signed it as a long-time opponent of same-sex marriage, worried by exactly the arguments advanced by the Californians who passed Proposition 8 to stop it: that the spread of same-sex marriage would change the way men and women thought about marriage in ways that would discourage them from forming married families," he said. "Since 2009, we have seen a sharp decline in this country in both marriage and childbearing. But that decline obviously has little or nothing to do with same-sex marriage. It has obviously everything to do with the economic crisis-and the long previous years of persistent decline in the wages and opportunities of Americans, especially young Americans."
Frum added, "As a conservative concerned with stabilizing families to rely less on government aid, I have been convinced: I've been worrying about the wrong thing. Stopping same-sex marriages does nothing to support families battered by economic adversity. Instead, it excludes and punishes people who seek only to live as conservatives would urge them to live. Treating same-sex partnerships differently from husband-wife marriages only serves to divide and antagonize those who ought to be working together."
Ken Mehlman, a former chairman of the Republican National Convention, who is openly gay, organized the brief, which will be submitted on Thursday to overturn Prop. 8.
According to the Scoutusblog, a blog that analyzes Supreme Court cases, the brief "has the potential to break through and make a real difference.
"The person who is going to decide this case, if it's going to be close, is going to be a conservative justice who respects traditional marriage but nonetheless is sympathetic to the claims that this is just another form of hatred," Tom Goldstein, the blog's writer, said. "If you're trying to persuade someone like that, you can't persuade them from the perspective of gay rights advocacy."
The Supreme Court will hear arguments on DOMA and Prop. 8 on Mar. 26 and 27. President Barack Obama, strongly supports the repeal of the DOMA and has told his administration not to defend it in court.