EBay, Electronic Arts, Thomson Reuters
and Marriott International are among the companies calling for the
legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
DOMA is the 1996 law which prevents
federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and
lesbian couples, thereby denying them over 1,100 federal benefits and
protections enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.
On Monday, the Human Rights Campaign
(HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate, launched the
Business Coalition for DOMA Repeal.
The coalition of Fortune 500 companies
is calling on lawmakers to approve the Respect for Marriage Act,
which would repeal the law and recognize all legal marriages for
The Supreme Court will hear a case
challenging the constitutionality of DOMA in March.
However, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler,
who first introduced the repeal measure in the House in 2009, has
argued that legislative repeal is needed even if the court strikes
down the law.
“We need to pass the Respect for
Marriage Act because its certainty provision would enable legally
married same-sex couples to receive federal recognition no matter
which state they move [to],” Nadler said.
That “certainty provision” gives
gay couples greater flexibility by guaranteeing that the federal
government will recognize their marriages even if they live in a
state where it is not legal.
Also joining the coalition are: A|X
Armani Exchange, Aetna Inc., Biogen Idec, Bristol-Myers Squibb,
Diageo North America, Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group LLC,
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Replacements, Ltd. and
Sun Life Financial U.S.
“We are proud to join the HRC and our
coalition in supporting this important initiative that reflects
Thomson Reuters own principles and policies on diversity, inclusion,
fairness and equality,” Patsy Doerr, head of Diversity &
Inclusion at Thomson Reuters, said
in a statement.