Businesses back same-sex marriage in briefs to Supreme Court News
Businesses back same-sex marriage in briefs to Supreme Court
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Businesses, cities, and other organizations filed two amicus curiae briefs with the US Supreme Court [official website] Tuesday in support of same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder]. The groups urged the court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [brief, PDF] in US v. Windsor [docket] and Proposition 8 [brief, PDF] in Hollingsworth v. Perry [docket]. The businesses include financial institutions, medical centers, airlines, energy and high technology businesses, law and professional firms, retailers, restaurants, non-profit organizations, and several others. Both briefs state an interest for the businesses in their desires to recruit, retain, and secure a talented workforce, and state that the laws in question impinge upon those interests. In particular, the brief in Hollingsworth states how Proposition 8 [text, PDF; JURIST news archive] leads talented employees to choose to live in states other than California, creating recruitment difficulties. The brief in Windsor explains:

The capital of modern enterprises is in many ways a human capital. Success depends on the talent, morale and motivation of the workforce for private and public employers alike. To attract the best employees and colleagues, amici must offer robust workplace benefits and a workplace ethos of transparent fairness. … Benefits packages, especially health-care and retirement benefits, are a direct contributor to employee loyalty. Satisfied and engaged workers are more productive and perform better across a variety of metrics than less-satisfied colleagues. Workplace benefits enhance the employer/employee relationship, which in turn is a key to institutional success. To compete effectively in the modern employment market, amici strive to offer workplace benefits to their employees on an equitable basis.

Additionally, the brief in Windsor cites challenges dual marriage regime created by DOMA [text; JURIST news archive] uniquely burdens the employers by requiring separate books and tax treatments to deal with same-sex marriages of employees on state and federal levels, and forcing those businesses to endure unnecessary cost and administrative complexity. Both briefs urge the Supreme Court to affirm the appellate court decisions.

The issue of same-sex marriage is an ongoing controversy in the US. Earlier this week attorneys for Edith Windsor [NYT profile], the respondent in US v. Windsor, filed [JURIST report] a brief [text, PDF] with the Supreme Court arguing that DOMA is unconstitutional. That brief added to the three that were filed [JURIST report] last week, including one filed by the Obama administration arguing that DOMA is unconstitutional and one filed by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) defending the law’s constitutionality. Last month the Supreme Court received briefs in both cases defending the constitutionality [JURIST report] of both Proposition 8 and Section 3 of DOMA. The court granted certiorari [JURIST report] in both cases in December.