WASHINGTON Feb 27 More than 200 businesses will
urge the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to strike down a
federal law that restricts the definition of marriage to
Lawyers representing the businesses said they would file a
brief in the case.
Companies including Microsoft Corp, Google Inc
, Starbucks Corp and Pfizer Inc are
among those that joined the brief. Others included Aetna Inc
, Amazon.com, Inc and Citigroup Inc.
Thomson Reuters Corp is another signatory. The
Reuters news agency is part of Thomson Reuters.
The companies want the Supreme Court to strike down a key
provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that
defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Separately, lawyers representing another group of employers,
including some of the same companies, had said already that they
planned to file a brief on Thursday in a related case that
questions a California law that bans gay marriage.
The two cases are to be argued before the Supreme Court on
March 26 and 27.
In the brief filed on Wednesday, attorney Sabin Willett
wrote that DOMA "requires that employers treat one employee
differently from another, when each is married, and each
marriage is equally lawful."
DOMA does not create any uniformity nationwide, Willett
said, because 12 states in total either authorize same-sex
marriage or recognize marriages that have been performed in
That creates a burden for employers, particularly those who
do business nationwide, he added.
Willett also wrote that the law forces companies to
discriminate, sometimes in contravention of their own internal
policies and local laws, when dealing with healthcare plans and
"We must do all of this in states, counties and cities that
prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual
orientation and demand equal treatment of all married
individuals," he added.
In briefs already filed in support of marriage being
restricted to heterosexual unions, business interests have not
been represented. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has not taken a
stand on the issue.