SALT LAKE CITY – Many groups, including well known national and Utah-based businesses, have filed an amici brief, arguments submitted as friends of the court not as parties to the lawsuit, in support of the challenge against Utah’s Amendment 3 which defines legal marriage as only between a man and a woman.
Midnight Wednesday was the deadline for “friends of the court” briefs to be filed with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. A total of 46 companies came together in one brief, including such companies as Google, Facebook, Starbucks, and eBay. Some state-based companies named in the brief include Overstock.com and XMission.
The companies support the original ruling by federal district court Judge Robert Shelby who struck down Amendment 3 as unconstitutional on Dec. 20, 2013. This led to over 1,300 same-sex couples across Utah marrying until Jan. 6, when the Utah Attorney General was able to get the U.S. Supreme Court to stay Shelby’s ruling pending outcome of its appeal. Since then Amendment 3 has been reinstated as the law of the land and has left same-sex couples married between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6 in a state of legal limbo.
The 46 businesses stated the following in their collective amici brief:
State laws and constitutions that deny marriage to gay and lesbian citizens are bad for our businesses …. Our success is dependent upon the welfare and morale of all employees, without distinction. This forced differential treatment – imposed by state law – of similarly situated employees interferes with our business and professional judgment and creates unnecessary confusion, tension, and ultimately, diminished employee morale …
As employers in a national and global economy, it is critical that we attract and retain the best employee talent. States like Utah, Oklahoma, and others whose laws or constitutions prohibit same-sex couples from marrying require us to differentiate among similarly situated employees, to our detriment. As a result, our ability to grow and maintain a diverse workplace is hampered, as is, in turn, our ability to grow and maintain our business.
Included among other groups and organizations that have filed amicus briefs opposed to Amendment 3 are:
- Alliance for a Better Utah
- Equality Utah, Gay Pride Center
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Cato Institute
- 15 states and Washington D.C.
- 40 family and child welfare professionals
- Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
- Episcopal Diocese of Utah, Mormons for Equality, United Church of Christ, et al.
- Constitutional law scholars
- Western Republicans
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints filed an amicus brief in favor of preserving Amendment 3 last month, as did the Family Research Council. Other religious organizations that also throw in their support for the state’s same-sex marriage ban include the Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Southern Baptist convention, and others, including:
- Sutherland Institute
- 81 members of the Utah Legislature
- Eagle Forum
- 16 Utah Counties (this includes Iron and Washington counties)
- The Becket Fund for Religious Liberties
- Center for Urban Renewal and Education, the Coalition of African-American Pastors USA, and the Frederick Douglas Foundation
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals hears argument for and against Amendment 3 in Denver, Colo., on April 10.
- 46 business amicus brief (PDF)
- Family Research Council files friend brief with 10th Circuit Court, Utah’s marriage definition law
- Federal government announces it will recognize Utah’s same-sex marriagesUtah won’t recognize same-sex marriages
- On the EDge: Same-sex marriage isn’t dead, just on hold
- U.S. Supreme Court halts same-sex marriages in Utah
- Utah appeals to U.S. Supreme Court to halt same-sex marriages
- Tenth Circuit denies Utah’s appeal for stay on same-sex marriage ruling
- Marriage licenses issued, weddings had for same-sex couples in Washington County
- Judge denies Utah’s request for emergency stay, same-sex marriage decision
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