Powerful Amicus Brief Asserts State Same-Sex Marriage Bans Are Discriminatory, Bad for Business
Washington - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, commended hundreds of the nation’s most prominent businesses for again standing on the right side of history by signing on to an amicus brief supporting marriage equality.
The brief, submitted today to the U.S. Supreme Court, argues that state bans on same-sex marriage are discriminatory and “hamper efforts to recruit and retain the most talented workforce possible in those states.” The high court in late April will hear oral arguments on the Constitutionality of such bans; 37 states currently have marriage equality.
“This historic filing reflects over a decade of leadership by America’s top businesses,” said Deena Fidas, Director of HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program and co-author of its annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI). “It is further evidence of the private sector leading on public policy advancements for LGBT Americans.”
“These employers have come together to convey to the Supreme Court that marriage equality isn’t just right, it’s good for business,” Fidas said.
The 379 signatories represent a Who’s Who of American companies and organizations, including Apple, American Airlines, Wells Fargo, Dow Chemical, and Marriott. Many of them are top-scorers on the CEI, which since 2002 has measured LGBT inclusion at Fortune 500 companies and the nation’s largest law firms, and worked with companies to drive equality in the workplace. HRC partnered with the management-side employment law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, which wrote the brief, and other organizations to recruit corporate amicus sign-ons
“The diverse industries and brands reflected in the signers of the brief, including Alcoa and Wells Fargo, have long histories of offering equal policies and benefits for their LGBT employees - well ahead of any legal mandate to do so,” Fidas said. “Employers should not be forced to take on the burdens of a patchwork of state marriage laws, nor should their investments be hampered by navigating discriminatory state laws.”
Louis A. Vega, Chief of Staff, Office of the Chairman and CEO, and Vice President, Olympic Operations, Dow, said that “a consistent, national rule ensures that everyone is able to bring their whole self to work – and to receive equal benefits – regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.”
“Dow is proud to join other leading organizations in signing the business amicus brief,” Vega said. “Our employees and colleagues are the very foundation of our ability to succeed as an enterprise and our workplace inclusion policies and benefits enable us to attract and retain an outstanding team.”
In 2013, around 200 companies signed on to an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited the recognition of same-sex marriages. The court found the restriction unconstitutional.
The brief minces no words in characterizing the state bans for what they are - “inconsistent and discriminatory.” It further argues that the bans force companies to treat LGBT employees differently than their straight, married colleagues. The companies argue that such a situation “breeds unnecessary confusion, tension, and diminished employee morale.”
The Supreme Court is expected to decide the marriage equality issue by the end of June.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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