Silicon Valley companies, others speak out against anti-same-sex marriage laws

With the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled to hear next month a couple of high-profile cases involving same-sex marriage, Apple, Google, Facebook, eBay, Oracle and many other companies in Silicon Valley and beyond are voicing their support for equal rights for all.

As the Merc’s Howard Mintz reports, the high court is set to hear arguments March 26 in California’s Proposition 8 case, and the challenge against the federal Defense of Marriage Act the next day. The businesses today filed a brief asking the court to uphold an appeals court ruling declaring DOMA unconstitutional. DOMA denies health and tax benefits to same-sex couples. Another group made up of some of the same companies is expected to file this week a brief asking the court to strike down Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in California.

In the brief filed today, the companies said that especially in states where same-sex marriage is or was legal, DOMA “forces us to treat one class of employee of our lawfully married employees differently than another, when our success depends upon the welfare and morale of all employees.”

Businesses including Microsoft and Starbucks recently spoke up for the rights of same-sex couples before the November elections, the Los Angeles Times points out — when Washington, Maine and Maryland made same-sex marriage legal. In 2008, before the same-sex marriage ban passed in California, Google and Apple publicly opposed it. (See And one more thing — No on Prop. 8.)

The Obama administration was reportedly feeling pressure to align with the hundreds of businesses — and a growing number of conservatives including Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman — speaking out against DOMA and Proposition 8. The president “has not yet said there is a constitutional right to marry, but he has been very careful not to say there isn’t,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, a national gay rights group. “The time for him to say it is is now,” Wolfson told Bloomberg.



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  • Jaack T.

    As a person who is directly affected by the Proposition 8 and
    the Federal DOMA Laws, I feel like the no-class citizen. I am a disabled veteran
    but that doesn’t matter to the religious crazies. I feel my religious freedoms have
    been trampled because the Christians have so much support in govt. and
    I have none. I was married in Connecticut but it means nothing in Ca. or many other states, veterans benefits to my spouse are denied too. Only the forward thinking
    of private companies have given us the respect we deserve and some
    assistance in health care coverage and truly cared about us as a couple, a married couple. Nothing more nor nothing LESS, a married couple with all accompanying
    benefits. We shouldn’t be the targets of blind discrimination. We deserve better
    treatment from our govt. No harm has been demonstrated by opponents of
    our rights. Just because of their religious bigotry, we shouldn’t be denied rights so
    many Americans take for granted.

  • Jaack T.

    Justice Scalia has already announced his decision on DOMA and Prop 8. He hasn’t heard any evidence nor heard arguments based upon CONSTITUTIONAL LAW. But he is ready to rule anyway. Antonin Scalia has spit on the Constitution. He has told us very clearly that he is not qualified to preside over a court whose sacrosanct duty is to uphold the law. He is a Christian first and an American second. He is a traitor to his position, and a traitor to the American people.

    “The Rule of Law is second only to the Rule of Love. The here and now is less important than the hereafter.” — Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Justice .
    Supreme Court justices are required to abstain from partisan politics. And let’s be perfectly clear: Religious intrusion into the law of the land is a partisan political
    matter. Just ask Rick Perry.

    SCOTUS Justice Chase was impeached in 1805, Chase’s alleged crimes were less egregious than Scalia’s. While Chase was accused of “bending the law” unfairly
    based on his own personal beliefs.
    There are irrefutable facts that cannot be ignored:

    The U.S. government was established with a document that has not one single mention of God.
    The U.S. government was established with the clear intent of NOT becoming like the religious monarchy the colonists had fled.
    The Bible, and by extension Christian governmental ideals, are antithetical
    to the U.S. form of government.

  • sd

    Scalia is an appointee of the same Republican Party that has been pooping on the Constitution since the 80s, a party in which dogma trumps reality and the Constitution becomes a bludgeoning tool rather than a pillar of democracy. The Dark Ages ended, too. Republicans of the Scalia variety are finding that their kind has become so hidebound they have no room to move, and they’re not going to make it through the changes which are coming.

    Jaack, for your sake, I hope the change comes soon. But it *is* coming. Scalia won’t be on the bench forever (he’s almost 80) and people are figuring out that that discrimination against gays is on the same order as discrimination against racial minorities. Hang in there.