Some companies to back gay marriage in coming Supreme Court cases

WASHINGTON Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:26pm EST

Same sex couples take their vows during a group wedding at the First Baptist Church in Seattle, Washington December 9, 2012. REUTERS/Jordan Stead

Same sex couples take their vows during a group wedding at the First Baptist Church in Seattle, Washington December 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jordan Stead

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some U.S. business interests intend to signal support for gay marriage by signing on to two briefs due to be filed this week with the Supreme Court, according to lawyers involved in the process who argue that gay rights are good for business.

Various companies are set to join separate friend-of-the-court briefs, one expected on Wednesday in a case challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act and one due on Thursday in a case that questions a California law that banned gay marriage.

Major companies are to urge the court to invalidate Proposition 8, the California law in question, and strike down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

The brief to be filed in the Proposition 8 case, a draft of which was obtained by Reuters, has been joined by such companies as Apple Inc, Nike Inc, Facebook Inc, Morgan Stanley, Intel Corp, Xerox Corp, AIG Inc and Cisco Systems Inc.

The two cases are to be argued on March 26 and 27.

In briefs already filed in support of marriage being restricted to heterosexual unions, business interests have not been represented. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has not taken a position on the issue.

Lawyers at the Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe law firm, which is handling the Proposition 8 brief, said more names could be added to the list before it is filed on Thursday.

In the DOMA case, a source close to the case said a similar brief with more than 250 signatories is due to be filed with the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

In the Proposition 8 brief, attorney Joshua Rosenkranz wrote that companies believe that the ban and other laws like it "inflict real and wholly unnecessary injury on business."

"By marginalizing same-sex couples and foreclosing gay men and lesbians from forming 'married' families, these bans on equal access to marriage stigmatize gay men and lesbians and deprive them of the benefits intrinsic to marriage," he added.

Even if a corporation welcomes gay and lesbian unions, "it cannot overcome the societal stigma institutionalized by Proposition 8 and similar laws," Rosenkranz wrote.

He also made the argument that there is "a strong business case" for recognizing same-sex marriage. Gay marriage bans "can impede business efforts to recruit, hire and retain the best workers," he added.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Howard Goller and Cynthia Osterman)

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Comments (2)
daniwitz13 wrote:
How can the ban impede hiring? Is this to say that prior to this issue, Companies did NOT hire the best people? That Homosexuals is a cause for not hiring the best? Absurd. If Marriage was just another incidence of Govt. then by all means, do it. But Marriage is a Formula for our very EXISTENCE. Life itself. What else is there if there is no Life. This Marriage Formula is our Mankind, Civilization, and Humanity. It brought us from the Past of millions of years to our present moment and to take us to the Future. Nothing else will. People make our Govt. and what makes people is a compelling concern. Out Constitution starts with “We the People”. Without people we have no Govt. or anything. Everything pales in comparison. They are considering an Aberrant Orientation with what makes Life. No way are they equal. Like considering death with Life. When one’s breath is running short, NOTHING else matters. So it is with the Formula of Mankind, a Male and Female is all that matters. Pity.

Feb 27, 2013 1:47am EST  --  Report as abuse
david0296 wrote:
@daniwitz: People do not get married solely to procreate (some couples never do); and people have been known to procreate without ever getting married. Procreation has NEVER been a requirement nor an obligation in order to get married. To imply that the only purpose for marriage is procreation is absurd. Rush Limbaugh has been married FOUR times, and is childless. Newt Gingrich’s last two (adulterous) marriages were also childless. So perhaps you can explain to them why they didn’t have the right to get married in the first place? …and perhaps you can explain to the rest of us why straight couples have the right to define their marriages however they see fit, but gay couples shouldn’t have the same exact right? This is aside from the fact that some gay couples ARE raising children right now, and their families are being harmed by not having the societal and legal benefits that come with marriage.

Feb 27, 2013 6:01am EST  --  Report as abuse
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