Press Release

Morgan Lewis Files Employers’ Amicus Brief in Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Case

March 05, 2015

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2015: Morgan Lewis filed a brief in the US Supreme Court today on behalf of 379 employers urging the High Court to consider the burdens imposed on both employers and employees by a fractured legal landscape with no uniform rule on same-sex marriage. The amicus curiae brief was filed in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, and urges the US Supreme Court to affirm a uniform principle that all couples share in the right to marry.

The brief argues that the existing, confused legal landscape places significant burdens on employers and their employees—making it increasingly hard to conduct business. The companies who submitted the brief range from small family-owned businesses to Fortune 100 companies and are evenly distributed across many of the United States’ most important industries, including technology, finance, sports, healthcare, and retail.

Employers across the nation share a desire to attract and retain a talented workforce. As the brief points out, today most Americans live in jurisdictions where same-sex marriages are recognized. However, the laws of many states continue to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying, and decline to recognize the valid existing marriages of citizens married to a spouse of the same sex, making it difficult for businesses to thrive. The signatories to the brief present empirical evidence showing the value of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the detrimental effect of the absence of a single uniform law in this area.

“The competition for top talent crosses state and even national borders. State laws that prohibit same-sex marriage make it harder for businesses to recruit and retain talented employees,” says Morgan Lewis Partner Susan Baker Manning, counsel of record on the brief. “The patchwork of inconsistent state marriage laws makes it challenging and more costly for employers to administer benefits systems when some employees are unable to marry, and other employees’ marriages are not recognized by the state. This burdens businesses by costing them both time and money.” 

“Morgan Lewis is very familiar with the legal and business needs of employers,” adds Morgan Lewis Chair Jami McKeon. “Our clients are some of the best-run companies in the world and they argue to the Court that a failure to recognize same sex marriage hurts their bottom line and hurts our economy as a whole.”

In addition to Ms. Manning, a team of Morgan Lewis attorneys including partners Michael L. Whitlock and Amanda D. Smith, along with associates John A. Polito and Jawad Muaddi, collaborated on the brief.

The full brief can be found here.