The coalition to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) just got a few new high-profile supporters: big business.
The Human Rights Campaign announced Tuesday that it was launching the Business Coalition for DOMA Repeal. DOMA was passed in 1996, and defines marriage as between a man and a woman for federal purposes.
Thirteen businesses have joined the group, including heavy hitters like the Armani Exchange, Aetna, eBay, Sun Life Financial, Thomson Reuters, and Marriot International.
The businesses specifically back the Respect for Marriage Act, a failed 2009 law scheduled to be re-introduced into Congress next month. Repeal of DOMA would allow same-sex couples to receive over 1,000 federal benefits only traditional male-females receive, including the ability to file joint taxes, qualify for certain tax exemptions, and receive Social Security survivor benefits.
In a statement, the group argued that besides being fundamentally unfair, “DOMA causes administrative headaches and tax inequities for companies as they simply try to treat their employees fairly,” and that DOMA is “bad for business.”
“These corporate pioneers understand one marriage deserves no less respect and dignity than any other marriage,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a statement. "They understand that repealing the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act is the right thing for our nation, and the smart thing for American business. We call on both large and small businesses to add their voices to the growing chorus calling for an end to this odious law."
Other big businesses have demonstrated their support for marriage equality recently. Starbucks endorsed same-sex marriage in Washington in 2012, while General Mills hosted a function in June attended by over 400 LGBT professionals at which company officials described their opposition to a Minnesota constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
With so many companies signing on to the gay marriage movement, can there be any doubt that many Republicans will temper their opposition to equal rights for same-sex couples?