Nearly 400 businesses urge the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the freedom to marry
March 05, 2015
Today, March 5, 379 businesses urged the United States Supreme Court to rule in favor of the freedom to marry in an amicus, or "friend-of-the-court", brief.
The brief, written by employment firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, argues that the patchwork of marriage laws across the countries causes business leaders to face confusion and economic burdens as a result of administrative uncertainties:
As employers, amici know firsthand that this fractured legal landscape hampers economic growth and impedes innovation by forcing businesses to work harder, and invest more, to achieve the same return on our investments. Inconsistent marriage laws force companies to divert significant time and money to the creation and maintenance of complex administrative systems needed to differentiate treatment of otherwise indistinguishable employees based on the different marriage laws of the places where they live. These differences can create rifts in the employer employee relationship. Employers are better served by a uniform marriage rule that gives equal dignity to employee relationships. Allowing same-sex couples to marry improves employee morale and productivity, reduces uncertainty, and removes the wasteful administrative burdens imposed by the current disparity of state law treatment.
The signers include Aetna, Amazon.com, American Airlines, American Express, Apple, AT&T, Capital One, Cardinal Health, Cigna, Cisco, Citigroup, Colgate-Palmolive, CVS Health, Delta Air Lines, EBay, Edelman, Facebook, General Electric, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, Google, Hilton, HSBC, Intuit, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly-Clark, Levi Strauss, Marriott, Microsoft, MillerCoors, Morgan Stanley, the New England Patriots, New York Life, Nike, Office Depot, Orbitz, Pandora, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, the San Francisco Giants, Staples, the Tampa Bay Rays, Target, TD Bank, Twitter, UBS, United Airlines, Verizon, Walt Disney, and Wells Fargo.
Earlier this year, a report examined the large economic burden that the inconsistent marriage laws across the country caused -- revealing that it cost the private sector $1.3 billion every year. Read more about that report here.
This brief was submitted just as the United States Supreme Court announced that it would hear oral arguments in the marriage cases from four states on April 28, in one consolidated two and a half hour hearing. On January 16, the United States Supreme Court announced that this year, they will hear arguments in a case on the question of whether same-sex couples should have the freedom to marry and if anti-marriage laws nationwide should be struck down as unconstitutional. The Court granted review of an out-of-step ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which ruled in November against the freedom to marry in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. In each of these cases, federal judges had ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for all, and the 6th Circuit reversed each decision.