Amicus briefs in DOMA/Prop 8 Cases reveal broad coalition in support of marriage

Yesterday was the last day to file amicus briefs for the upcoming Supreme Court hearings on both the so-called 'Defense of Marriage Act' (DOMA) and the constitutionality of California's 'Proposition 8' ban on marriage equality. And even a quick look at those that have been filed shows that Americans from all walks of life and all political persuasions have formed a historic and enormous (though unofficial) coalition in support of marriage equality in the U.S. 

Just in case you didn't get the memo the other day when Jon Huntsman wrote his opinion piece in support of marriage for same-sex couples, more conservatives than ever are coming out in support of marriage equality.  As The New York Times reported on Monday, dozens of powerful Republicans have now signed a legal brief arguing in favor of repealing Proposition 8. Later this week the brief will be submitted to the Supreme Court in the hopes that it will sway the justices to rule against Proposition 8. They are not the first conservatives to be involved in the suit against Prop 8. Ted Olson, former solicitor general under President George W. Bush, is one of two main lawyers arguing against the California law. Laura Bush, Dick Cheney and Colin Powell have all voiced their support for marriage equality, along with many other conservatives across the country.

The issue does not just impact politics either. On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that a collection of 278 companies, city governments, law firms and other groups signed an amicus (friend of the court) brief in support of repealing the Defense of Marriage Act. The companies include Amazon, CBS Corporation, eBay, Facebook, Google, Starbucks, Twitter, JetBlue Airways, and Walt Disney Company, among others. The United States Conference of Mayors is also listed.

The brief argues that, "far from creating uniformity, DOMA obliges employers to treat an employee married to someone of the same sex and an employee married to someone of a different sex unequally." Additionally, "the capital of modern enterprises is in many ways a human capital. Success depends on the talent, morale and motivation of the workforce for private and public employers alike. DOMA burdens amici [those who signed the brief] and their employees, and strains the employer/employee relationship."

The signatories are all employers of Americans, LGBT and straight, who are concerned that DOMA prevents them from operating efficiently. Not only does DOMA put a strain on same-sex couples throughout this country, it also negatively impacts the productivity of American employers. During marriage equality debates there is often a question of whether marriage between same-sex couples negatively impacts businesses. Rather than report on anti-LGBT ads that suggest that marriage equality leads to costs for corporations, the media can go right to the companies themselves. Many of this country's largest employers have come out in support of marriage equality, and if the public understands that, it will become easier for other companies and individuals to voice their support as well.

And on Thursday, the President of the United States joined in, calling for the court to find Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The Obama administration had already called for the Supreme Court to find DOMA unconstitutional.

Support for marriage equality has always been treated by the media as a progressive political issue, but this doesn't work anymore. It's a business issue. It's a faith issue. It's a conservative issue. From the first sitting President to support marriage for all - to the nation's most influential corporate leaders - to a small but growing number of conservatives, these amicus briefs (and the media attention they received this past week) prove that America as a nation truly wants full equality for same-sex couples.

Take Action!

Join GLAAD in Washington DC for a series of events on March 26-27, as we rally for marriage equality. The days will include an interfaith prayer service, rallies on the steps of the Supreme Court, and a Passover Seder.

If you can’t make it to DC, check out our map of events happening around the country and find the one in your community!

Visit GLAAD's Marriage page and the United for Marriage page

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