There is one rare area on which Wall Street and the 99 percent can see eye to eye: gay marriage. Many of the biggest financial firms on Wall Street are urging SCOTUS to back same-sex marriage by signing a brief that they will file on Thursday. As of Wednesday night, a total of 379 companies, which also included major tech firms, had signed the "friend of the court" brief advocating for the legalization of gay marriage in all states.
Some notable companies who signed the brief include Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, AIG, Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo, UBS, and American Express, as well as tech giants Google, Apple, and Facebook — oh and the New England Patriots.
Those who signed the brief are arguing that the country's divided stance on same-sex marriage — it's legal in 38 states plus D.C. and banned in the rest — is creating costly challenges for both employers and employees. Elliott Frieder, a spokesman for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, the law firm filing the brief on behalf of the corporations, told CNN:
The brief argues that the existing confused legal landscape places significant burdens on employers and their employees—making it increasingly hard to conduct business.
In another statement, reported by Bloomberg, the firm explained:
The burden imposed by inconsistent and discriminatory state laws of having to administer complicated schemes to account for differential treatment of similarly situated employees breeds unnecessary confusion, tension, and diminished employee morale.
In other words, it's bad for business.
Though their argument is a practical one, the brief is a significant gesture nonetheless — and not the first one Wall Street has made in support of gay marriage.
In 2013, prior to the Supreme Court's historic decision on DOMA, about 200 companies signed a similar brief pushing for the court to overturn it. In that amicus brief, the signatories made an almost identical argument, saying that DOMA "puts us, as employers, to unnecessary cost and administrative complexity" and that the federal law "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."
When SCOTUS ultimately ruled to overturn DOMA, Wall street praised the decision. At the time, only nine states plus D.C. had struck down their gay marriage bans, but the DOMA decision helped inspire an uptick of gay marriage legalization in states across the country, with nearly 30 states striking down bans in just two years.
Now Wall Street is backing what would be an even more landmark decision as the Supreme Court prepares to hear cases to decide whether same-sex marriage is a Constitutional right, which would put an end to the state-by-state discrepancy once and for all. Not only would such a decision be monumental for the country's social progress, according to Wednesday's signatories, it'd also be good for business.
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