Here Are the Local Companies Asking the Supreme Court to Overturn DOMA
Arguing that the Defense of Marriage Act unduly burdens them with administrative and financial headaches of navigating contradictory laws and benefits, nearly 300 employers, many of them based in Massachusetts, submitted a friend-of-the-court brief Wednesday asking the Supreme Court to overturn the law. The brief is just one of many the court is receiving in the lead up to the Windsor v. United States case that challenges DOMA, but it’s signed by a group that includes America’s most iconic companies, from Apple and Google to Goldman Sachs to Walt Disney Co. That’s a powerful sign that the public opinion shift toward support for gay marriage in the past decade has made it uncontroversial enough for America’s major companies to advocate for it without apparent fear of repercussions (If impassioned opponents would like to boycott their iPhones, stop watching Disney movies, shut down their Facebook, and search the web on Bing … well then good luck to them. Ha, just kidding, Bing is owned by Microsoft, which signed the brief, so … Yahoo?)
The list of signatories includes at least three dozen organizations based here in Massachusetts. Boston law firm Bingham McCutchen wrote the brief, which focuses more on the ways the law hurts businesses than it does on broad arguments against discrimination. The brief reads:
We share a desire to attract, retain, and secure a talented workforce. We are located in or operate in states that recognize mar- riages of certain of our employees and colleagues to spouses of the same sex. At the same time, we are subject to section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), which precludes federal recognition of these marriages. This dual regime uniquely burdens [us]. It puts us, as employers, to unnecessary cost and administrative complexity, and regardless of our business or professional judgment forces us to treat one class of our lawfully married employees differently than another, when our success depends upon the welfare and morale of all employees.
The signatories also complain about the administrative headache that contradictions between state and federal laws cause companies that operate in multiple places as they try to administer benefits and tax policies.
If the list contains a “who’s who of corporate America,” as the Boston Globe put it Thursday, it also contains a pretty comprehensive “who’s who” of Massachusetts in a range of industries, from health care to tech to law to financial services. For the record, we’ve assembled a list of signatories headquartered in the state (and we may have left off some with at least some corporate presence here.) They are:
Akamai Technologies, Inc.
Alere Inc.Bain & Company, Inc.
Biogen Idec, Inc.
Blu Homes, Inc.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
Boston Community Capital, Inc.
The Boston Foundation
Boston Medical Center Corporation
Boston Scientific Corporation
The Bridgespan Group
Burns & Levinson LLP
Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP
The City of Boston
The City of Cambridge
The City of Northampton
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Inc.
Eastern Bank Corporation
Goulston & Storrs, P.C.
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Liberty Mutual Group, Inc.
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Trust, LLC
Massachusetts Association of Health Plans
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
Massachusetts Teachers Association
The National Fire Protection Association, Inc.
Nixon Peabody LLP
Partners HealthCare System, Inc.
Peabody & Arnold LLP
Prince Lobel Tye LLP
Reproductive Science Center of New England, P.C.
Ropes & Gray LLP
Shawmut Design and Construction
State Street Corporation
W/S Development Associates LLC