Mayors, Businesses, and State organizations urge Supreme Court to overturn DOMA

This week, a huge variety of voices have spoken out against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 in legal amicus briefs filed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Next month, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in legal challenges to DOMA, which prohibits federal respect for legal marriages between same-sex couples, and Proposition 8, which stripped same-sex couples of the freedom to marry in California in 2008. The briefs filled before the Supreme Court serve as Americans' opportunities to urge the Justices to stand on the Right Side of History by approving the freedom to marry.

Earlier this week, the Obama administration and Edith Windsor's lawyers filed briefs in Windsor v. United States, which challenges DOMA, and last week, the American Foundation for Equal Rights filed its opening brief in Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges Prop 8. But this week has seen even more action from a wide range of voices - starting with Monday's brief from over 80 prominent Republican leaders.

Here are three other important groups who have spoken out for marriage this week:


Today, 278 employers across the country joined together by signing an amicus brief in Windsor v. United States urging the Supreme Court to overturn DOMA. "Our principles reflect, in the truest sense, our business judgment," the businesses communicate in the brief. By force of law, DOMA rescinds that judgment and directs that we renounce these principles or, worse yet, betray them."

The brief outlines two key points: 1) "DOMA imposes compliance burdens upon employers," outlining a host of workplace protections that married same-sex married are not allowed to access because of DOMA and explaining that employers are forced to take on administrative burdens and expenses just to be able to treat their gay and lesbian employees equally. And 2) "DOMA forces businesses to affirm discrimination they regard as injurious to their corporate missions and contrary to non-discrimination laws and policies," which infringes on the employers' autonomy and strains relationships between the employers and employees. 

Nearly 300 businesses signed the brief, including Apple, Starbucks, CBS, Viacom, Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Marriott International, Inc., and Nike. Read the entire brief HERE.  


The U.S. Conference of Mayors also signed onto the business brief today. Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia and the President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, explained today, "The U.S. Conference of Mayors is proud to sign onto this brief. Mayors want their citizens and businesses to prosper, and that means supporting them against discrimination - from any level of government. Married means married, and mayors and businesses agree that DOMA can't stand."

Since January 2012, over 300 mayors across the country have signed onto Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, a broad-based coalition of mayors who support ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. Our founder and President Evan Wolfson thanked the mayors for their support today in the brief. He said:

Uniting with businesses from Adobe to Xerox in standing against DOMA, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has shown the true American spirit of equality and fairness today. Mayors know well that marriage and family are the cornerstone of strong communities, and that a federal law that discriminates against marriages violates the Constitution and has got to go. Freedom to Marry is especially proud of its close partnership with the U.S. Conference in building and growing Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, which now numbers more than 300 from 32 states in every part of the country. (Photo by The Washington Blade)

State-Wide LGBT Organizations 

Today, the Utah Pride Center, Campaign for Southern Equality, Equality Federation and twenty-five additional state-wide LGBT equality organizations also filed a brief in Hollingsworth v. Perry asking the Court to overturn Proposition 8 and extend the fundamental freedom to marry to gay and lesbian Americans.

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, the Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equalityexplained today in a statement:

The Supreme Court is being asked to consider a fundamental question: are LGBT Americans equal people whose humanity and dignity must be recognized? In every city and town across the South we know there are LGBT youth, adults and families who urgently need - and desire - the rights and protections that our Constitution promises to all, including the ability to marry the person you love. The current lack of legal protections harms individuals and families across the South. 

The signers represent organizations from 23 states, including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.  

(Photo by The Washington Post

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Hollingsworth v. Perry case on March 26, 2013 and in the Windsor v. United States case on March 27, 2013. Learn more about the marriage cases at the Supreme Court HERE.