70 companies have legally documented their opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act on the grounds that it hurts their business and costs them money. These companies include CBS, Microsoft, Google, Levi Strauss, Nike, Starbucks, Xerox, Time Warner Cable and several health insurance companies.
According to a brief filed in court in Gil v. OPM, companies say that DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) is costing them money because it forces them to treat gay couples differently from straight couples. DOMA places a financial burden on administrative offices because of all the extra paperwork that must be kept.
The trial began on May 6, 2010, and was heard by District Judge Joseph Louis Tauro. On July 8, Tauro ruled section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional in a summary judgment. He later stayed the implementation of his decision pending appeal and the Department of Justice entered an appeal on October 12, 2010.
Since then, the Department of Justice has filed a brief defending the Act, and has not opposed petitions to the contrary or to move things along. The Court is still in deliberation and no final judgement has been made, which is why the legal documentation is being considered.
Legally, companies are required to investigate claims of same sex spouses from states that allow gay marriage. Insurance companies, especially health insurance, must also keep separate files for non-heterosexual clients. In short, companies are legally required to treat gay couples and individuals differently. Some companies won’t hire an openly gay individual even if they are the best qualified person for the job due to the extra paperwork and costs associated with the hire.
Many companies want to support gay marriage and hire gay individuals, but cannot because even if the State recognizes the marriage, the Federal Government still has DOMA in place for now. For many of these corporations, DOMA is just a useless regulation that asks them to discriminate, and to pay for that opportunity. Moreover, DOMA does nothing to protect workers, the environment, or consumers. It just requires discrimination.
Personally, I am heartened to see this filing. It means that gay employees are valued and large corporations are willing to stand up to how stupid the legislation is.
Photo credit: Gay Liberation Network