On heels of landmark amicus brief, HRC launches business coalition for DOMA repeal
WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today lauded the 70 businesses and organizations that filed a brief in federal court highlighting the harms to American companies caused by the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The amicus curiae brief – signed by a wide diversity of corporations from tech giants Microsoft and Google to consumer brands Nike and Starbucks – supports the Gill v. OPM case challenging the denial of federal rights and benefits to lawfully married gay and lesbian couples brought by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), as well as the consolidated case brought by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts challenging DOMA's discrimination against its own citizens.
“Not only does DOMA hurt families, now we have a clear picture of how it also harms American business,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “With a majority of Americans also opposing this law, the time has come for the federal government to treat all legally married couples equally.”
HRC was proud to have supported GLAD in marshaling businesses to join this brief and today also announced it is forming a business coalition to support DOMA repeal as part of its “Americans for Marriage Equality” campaign. The Senate Judiciary Committee will continue consideration next week on the Respect for Marriage Act – the bill to repeal DOMA – and HRC will be sharing this strong business case with Senators.
“As these cases wind their way through the courts, Congress also has an opportunity to act,” said Solmonese. “Every day that DOMA remains on the books, couples are denied protections, children are disadvantaged and businesses are burdened.”
DOMA prevents any of the over 1,100 federal rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage from being afforded to legally married same-sex couples. These include Social Security survivor benefits, federal employee health benefits for spouses, protections against spouses losing their homes in cases of severe medical emergencies, the right to sponsor a foreign born partner for immigration, the guarantee of family and medical leave and the ability to file joint tax returns, among many others. 51 percent of voters oppose DOMA while only 34 percent favor it, according to a March 2011 poll by HRC and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.
HRC has been a leader for years in marshaling business support for equality issues through its workplace project. The organization sponsors a number of business coalitions for pro-LGBT legislation including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and an end to the unfair taxation on domestic partner benefits. Additionally, HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (www.hrc.org/CEI) ranks major American businesses on their LGBT workplace policies.
The full brief along with the list of signatories is available at: http://hrc-assets.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com//files/images/pages/HRCBusinessCoalition_DOMAAmicusBrief_2011.PDF.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.