Diverse groups tell Supreme Court they support same-sex marriage

7 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 Minnesota Mayors Urge SCOTUS To Support Marriage Equality.

Supreme Court to rule that states cannot ban gay marriage. “These facially discriminatory laws impose concrete harms on same-sex couples and send the inescapable message that same-sex couples and their children are second-class families, unworthy of the recognition and benefits that opposite-sex couples take for granted,” Solicitor General Donald Verrilli wrote in the brief. Supreme Court weighs arguments for and against the rights of gays and lesbians to marry next month, gay- and civil-rights advocates, and their supporters from officials in states such as California, will have some unaccustomed company. The other three Minnesota mayors who signed the document were Duluth Mayor Don Ness, Falcon Heights Mayor Peter Lindstrom, and Lake Park Mayor Aaron Wittnebel. The administration’s brief completes a shift on the issue for Obama, who ran for president in 2008 as a supporter of civil unions for gay couples, but not marriage.

When the Supreme Court considered the issue in 2013, the administration stopped short of urging nationwide legalization, instead taking a position that would have added eight new gay-marriage states. There are currently 37 states where gay marriage has been allowed to proceed, although a legal battle is ongoing in Alabama, with the state’s top court putting it on hold.

Dozens of briefs backing gay marriage were filed ahead of Friday’s deadline, including one signed by corporations such as Google Inc, American Airlines Group Inc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Johnson & Johnson. The group includes billionaire energy executive David Koch, one of two brothers whose network of groups has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Republican candidates. They’re among 379 corporations and business organizations that have signed onto legal arguments offering the court another reason to declare a nationwide constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry — it would be good for business. “Inconsistent state marriage laws impose an added economic burden on American businesses at an estimated cost of over $1 billion per year,” the companies’ lawyers wrote. They signed a brief alongside sports franchises that include the reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants and the Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots.

With 13 states still prohibiting same-sex marriage, and refusing to recognize marriages conducted in other states, they said, “our ability to grow and maintain our businesses by attracting and retaining the best employee talent is hindered.” The court will hear arguments April 28 in lawsuits by same-sex couples in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, which still restrict marriage to heterosexual couples. Susan Manning of the Morgan Lewis law firm, lead attorney for the 379 companies, said they offer a unique perspective. “Marriage discrimination hurts the ability of American businesses to recruit and retain top talent,” she said. Manning said the public shouldn’t draw any conclusions from a company’s or organization’s absence from the list, which consisted mainly of those that responded to an invitation by the law firm. “Our clients are getting very, very positive reactions,” she said. “Internally, from their employees … and good reactions from their customers.”

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