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Major U.S. corporations call on Supreme Court to strike down gay marriage bans

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
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More than 60 U.S. corporations — including Apple, eBay, Facebook, Intel, Nike and Morgan Stanley — have signed on to an amicus brief in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court challenge to Proposition 8, California’s voter approved ban on same-sex marriage.

According to a draft copy obtained by Fortune, the companies argue that laws banning same-sex marriage “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 argues that marriage equality for same-sex couples “is more than a constitutional issue,” it is also “a business imperative.”

“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 asserts that Proposition 8 harms California business in that potential recruits or employees who are members of a same-sex couple “may forgo the opportunity to work in California, and prefer other states (like Iowa, New York and Massachusetts) or other nations where they can be married and obtain equal treatment and respect under the law.”

The draft brief also argues that legaling same-sex marriage would positively impact local economies through travel, tourism and wedding planning services and venues.

Joshua Rosenkranz, who is counsel of record on the brief and head of the Supreme Court and appellate litigation practice at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, said that the number of companies sigining onto the brief is expected to rise by Thursday, the deadline set by the court to receive briefs in the case.

Others who have already committed to sign include AIG, Cisco, Levi Strauss, McGraw Hill, NCR, Office Depot, Oracle, Panasonic, Qualcomm, and Xerox.

Earlier Tuesday, more than 75 prominent Republican leaders signed a similar amicus brief calling on the Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8.

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