Microsoft and Starbucks are among 70 corporations, financial institutions, medical centers, and other major organizations that have signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief in support of a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
The organizations are, or represent, major employers who argue that DOMA imposes significant administrative costs, and that it harms their ability to attract and retain talent.
“Microsoft has joined dozens of corporations, organizations and governments in support of a challenge on constitutionality grounds to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA,” the company said in a statement. The amicus brief “points out the significant costs and administrative burdens DOMA imposes on employers as well as the ways DOMA interferes with employers’ efforts to promote diversity and equal opportunity in the workplace.”
The organizations — which also include Google, CBS, Time Warner Cable, Nike, and the cities of Boston, Cambridge and New York — filed the brief Thursday in the case of Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one of two consolidated cases from Massachusetts challenging the constitutionality of DOMA.
DOMA, passed by Congress in 1996, defines marriage as between one man and one woman. It bars the federal government from treating same-sex marriages as legal or granting gay couples federal benefits. That means, for instance, that same-sex couples who married in states such as Massachusetts, where gay marriage is legal, aren’t eligible for the benefits that come with federally recognized marriage, such as filing joint federal tax returns or Social Security and immigration-law benefits.
There are about a dozen cases around the country challenging DOMA.
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