Amazon, Viacom, Target Urge Supreme Court To Rule On Virginia Marriage Equality Ban

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Amazon, CBS, eBay, Nike, Target and Viacom are among the 30 major American companies that have signed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to rule on Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban.

Their rationale is that the uneven recognition of marriage equality in the U.S. places an undue burden on corporations.

Well, if you want to change laws in this country, showing how they hurt corporations is a pretty good start.

An excerpt from the brief:

We are located or operate in states across the country, some of which recognize marriages of those of our employees whose spouses are of the same sex, and others that prohibit marriages between same-sex couples and refuse to recognize existing same-sex marriages.

This dual and continuously shifting regime uniquely burdens amici. This legal uncertainty exposes us, as employers, to unnecessary cost, risk, and administrative complexity.

In addition, this irresolution hampers our efforts to recruit and retain the most talented workforce possible, placing us at a competitive disadvantage. Our success depends upon the welfare and morale of all employees, without distinction.

The burden imposed by inconsistent state laws of having to administer complicated schemes to account for differential treatment of similarly situated employees creates unnecessary confusion, tension, and ultimately, diminished employee morale.

The full list of corporate signers is below. (Note: Logo/NewNowNext is a subsidiary of Viacom Inc.):

Alcoa Inc., Inc.
Aspen Skiing Company
Ben & Jerry’s
Bloomberg L.P.
CBS Corporation
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Cummins Inc.
Deutsche Bank AG
Eastern Bank Corporation
eBay, Inc.
General Electric Company
Intel Corporation
Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, LLC
Levi Strauss & Company
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
NIKE, Inc.
Oracle America, Inc.
Outerwall Inc.
Pfizer Inc.
Qualcomm Incorporated
Staples, Inc.
State Street Corporation
SunLife Financial (U.S.) Services Company
United Therapeutics Corporation

A challenge to Virginia’s ban filed by American Foundation for Equal Rights won this year in both the U.S. District Court and in the U.S. Court of Appeals. But Attorney General TK is appealing those decisions—and both the state and plaintiffs agree SCOTUS needs to make a final decision.

“This case is about justice and about redeeming the constitutional guarantee of equality for countless gay and lesbian couples that has been denied for far too long,” said AFER executive director Adam Umhoefer. “…We are prepared to argue the case for freedom and equality for all couples across the nation, and the Supreme Court must rule in favor of the fundamental right to marry for all Americans.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.