Four Top 50 Companies Sign Amicus Brief Supporting Marriage Equality

By Albert Lin


Photo by Fibonacci Blue

Four DiversityInc Top 50 companies are among 23 employers that have signed on to an amicus brief in support of same-gender marriage.

The four are Cummins (No. 15), Marriott International (No. 16), Target (No. 22) and WellPoint (No. 29). In addition, Pfizer, one of DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies, also joined.

The brief has been submitted as part of an appeal that will be heard on Aug. 26 in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago regarding the legality of same-gender-marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin. The court initially was scheduled to hear separate cases when federal judges overturned bans in both states, but it combined the two cases into one.

The brief explains the business impact of same-gender-marriage bans.

“State laws and constitutions denying marriage to gay and lesbian citizens are bad for our businesses,” the brief’s summary says. “We are hampered in our efforts to recruit and retain the most talented workforce possible, placing us at a competitive disadvantage. Our success depends upon the welfare and morale of all employees, without distinction.”

The brief goes on to say: “Same-sex couples should have the same right to marry as opposite-sex couples. Married same-sex couples should receive the same benefits and responsibilities appurtenant to marriage as any other couple. We recognize the importance of that equality to our employees, and we have seen the real world, positive impact that fostering diversity and inclusion has on our productivity andperformance, just as we have seen the harm that denial of equality causes our businesses.

“The district court opinions in the above-captioned cases help establish a uniform principle that all couples share in the right to marry. Reversal would serve only to prolong an unproductive, inequitable, and unjust status quo. We respectfully and strongly urge the Court to affirm.”

In a piece announcing the amicus brief, on a Target internal-messaging site, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Jodee Kozlak wrote, “At Target, we have long offered comprehensive, competitive benefits to our LGBT team members and their families, often above what is legally required. We continue to do so today because we believe doing so is right for our team and for our business. But current laws—in places like Wisconsin and Indiana that are addressed in this brief—make it difficult to attract and retain talent. These disparate laws also create confusing and complicated benefits challenges across multiple states.

“We believe that everyone—all of our team members and our guests—deserves to be treated equally. And at Target we are proud to support the LGBT community.”

Target is one of DiversityInc’s Top 10 Companies for LGBT Employees.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune called Target’s move “unusual” given that almost all of Minneapolis’ largest companies remained neutral on a 2012 state referendum that would have banned same-gender marriage in Minnesota. Perhaps referencing that, Kozlak wrote: “[Our leadership team] agreed that now is the right time to more directly share our views on this issue.”

Of the biggest Minneapolis-based corporations, only General Mills (No. 20 in the DiversityInc Top 50) opposed the ban. The referendum did not pass, and the state legislature legalized same-gender marriage less than a year later.

Latest News

NBCUniversal News Group Launches NBCU Academy, Offering Training to Universities and Community Colleges

NBCUniversal News Group launched NBCU Academy, a new, innovative, multiplatform journalism training and development program for four-year university and community college students through education, on-campus training and online programming. Originally published on corporate.comcast.com. The initiative includes a curated onsite curriculum for hands-on learning experience with world-class NBCU News Group journalists,…

Kaiser

Kaiser Permanente: Committing $8.15M for Racial Equity

Originally published on about.kaiserpermanente.org. Grants to grassroots and nonprofit organizations will help address structural racism and practices that prevent communities of color from achieving good health and well-being. Kaiser Permanente (DiversityInc Hall of Fame), the nation’s largest integrated, nonprofit health system, has awarded $8.15 million to support dozens of nonprofit…

Toyota Research Institute and Stanford University’s Dynamic Design Lab Study How to Improve Automotive Safety

Originally published on pressroom.toyota.com. Inspired by the Skills of Professional Drift Drivers, Research Seeks to Combine the Technology of Vehicle Automation with Artificial Intelligence Algorithms What if every driver who ran into trouble had the instinctive reflexes of a professional race car driver and the calculated foresight of a supercomputer…

Tribal elder

Loss of Tribal Elders Due to COVID-19 Decimating Indigenous Populations; Colorado Revamps Common-Law Marriage Requirements, Making Them More Friendly for LGBTQ Couples; and More

Loss of tribal elders due to COVID-19 decimating Indigenous populations. The Muscogee, Navajo, Blackfeet Nation, White Mountain Apache and Choctaw tribes are among the many communities of Indigenous people suffering irreparable losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Times reporter Jack Healy has reported. Already impacted by infection rates…

Justice for George Floyd

Officer Who Pressed Knee Into George Floyd’s Neck to Stand Trial Alone; Judge Halts Federal Execution of Lisa Montgomery, Only Woman on Death Row

Officer who pressed knee into George Floyd’s neck to stand trial alone in March. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin — the man who can be seen on video pressing his knee into George Floyd’s neck for an excruciating 8 minutes and 46 seconds — will now stand trial alone,…

BASF Starts Global Registration for New and Environmentally Friendly Insecticide Active Ingredient

Originally published on BASF.com. BASF ranked No. 14 on The 2020 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list. Regulatory dossiers for Axalion™insecticide submitted in Australia and Korea Active ingredient with novel mode of action and high compatibility with beneficial insects, including pollinators First sales for Axalion-based products expected by 2023…

TIAA’s Roger Ferguson on Solving the Student Debt Crisis

CEO Roger Ferguson shares how TIAA (No. 9 on 2020 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) teamed up with loan wellness platform Savi to help nonprofit workers reduce monthly student debt payments and work toward forgiveness. Watch his full talk at the link below. https://www.tiaa.org/public/foward-focus-/episode-7-your-financial-future-the-path-forward