Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Around The Nation

New York
Fortune Magazine: Dozens of big U.S. companies to back gay marriage
NEW YORK, NY -- In an article published online Tuesday afternoon, Fortune magazine reported that dozens of the Fortune 500 list corporations have banded together and will file an Amicus Brief with the U. S. Supreme Court brief Thursday, in the Hollingsworth v. Perry case, arguing that California's ballot initiative Proposition 8 and similar laws are unconstitutional under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the U. S. Constitution.
Lead attorney on the brief, New York City based litigator Joshua Rosenkranz, told the magazine that at least 60 companies had committed to attaching themselves to the brief including Apple, Alcoa, Facebook, eBay, Intel, and Morgan Stanley. Rosenkranz added that other corporations who have already committed to sign include AIG, Becton Dickinson, Cisco, Cummins, Kimpton, Levi Strauss, McGraw Hill, NCR, Nike, Office Depot, Oracle, Panasonic, Qualcomm, and Xerox.
In a draft copy obtained by the magazine, the companies argue that such laws "send an unmistakeable signal that same-sex couples are in some way inferior to opposite-sex couples, a proposition that is anathema to amici's commitment to equality and fair treatment to all."
The brief covers the ground adopting the arguments that were already established in the main brief challenging the constitutionality of Prop 8—filed last week by Theodore Olson David Boies. However, the brief highlights the argument that "recognizing the rights of same-sex couples to marry is more than a constitutional issue. It is a business imperative."
From the brief:
"By singling out a group for less favorable treatment, Proposition 8 impedes businesses from achieving the market's ideal of efficient operations—particularly in recruiting, hiring, and retaining talented people who are in the best position to operate at their highest capacity. Amici are competing domestically and internationally with companies inside and outside the United States in places where all couples, regardless of whether they are of the same sex, are afforded equal access to marriage."
The brief also highlights scenarios where "potential recruits or employees are members of a same-sex couple," they "may forgo the opportunity to work in California, and prefer other states (like Iowa, New York and Massachusetts) or other nations (like Spain, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Portugal, or Belgium) where they can be married and obtain equal treatment and respect under the law."
"Laws like Prop 8 "leave companies in the untenable position of being compelled implicitly to endorse the second-class status to which their gay and lesbian employees, clients, customers, and business associates are relegated," the brief argues. "Until the law no longer relegates same-sex couples to second-class status as inferior "domestic partnerships," our adherence to the law compels us to abide by a distinction that stigmatizes and dehumanizes gay men and lesbians."
Fortune also notes that the draft brief argues that "increased wedding celebrations can mean additional revenue for many businesses—such as businesses involved directly in wedding celebrations, businesses that produce goods often given as gifts to newlyweds, and businesses that benefit from increased tourism from guests who travel to the wedding."

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