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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Major Companies Say Gay Marriage Ban Is Bad For Business

Thomas Rabe, right, places a wedding ring on Robert Coffman's finger during a marriage ceremony at City Hall in Baltimore, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Thomas Rabe, right, places a wedding ring on Robert Coffman’s finger during a marriage ceremony at City Hall in Baltimore, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Alcoa, Office Depot, Panasonic, Xerox, Morgan Stanley, Apple and Caesars Entertainment are among the dozens of American companies submitting a joint brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, arguing in favor of gay marriage.

A draft of the joint brief obtained by Fortune magazine argues that laws banning same-sex marriage force the companies to endorse “second-class status” for gay and lesbian employees, in violation of their own company policies of equal and fair treatment for all.

But the draft goes on to make a business argument, saying the discriminatory law puts the companies at a competitive disadvantage because it “impedes businesses from achieving the market’s ideal of efficient operation – particularly in recruiting, hiring and retaining talented people.”

The companies are weighing in on Holligsworth v. Perry, in which the court is being asked to rule whether California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative which amended the state constitution to ban gay marriage, is constitutional.

A number of leading Republicans have also filed a brief in that case, asking the court to back gay marriage.

And a larger group of companies – over 200 – is preparing to argue in favor of gay marriage in a second Supreme Court case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as strictly hetrosexual.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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