Gay rights groups touting prominent Republican backers, retired military leaders, and U.S. businesses will ask the Supreme Court next month to support same-sex “marriage.”
Religious leaders, labor groups, and homosexuals who live in states that prohibit same-sex “marriage” also plan to weigh in on the arguments.
The justices will hear the debate over California’s constitutional ban on gay “marriage” on March 26, followed the next day by a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) provision that defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman.
Businesses backing gay rights groups in the California case include Apple, eBay, Facebook, Intel, Morgan Stanley, Nike and Xerox.
"We file this brief to add more voices to the growing chorus that Proposition 8, and similar laws barring equal access to marriage for same-sex couples, are unconstitutional and should be invalidated," the companies said in a friend-of-the-court brief provided by the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.
California is among 30 states with constitutional provisions that uphold the traditional view of marriage, prohibiting people of the same sex to wed. Roughly 10 others do so by statute.
Activists expect a much larger group of companies to support overturning DOMA.
Among the Republicans bucking their party’s traditional view of marriage are former presidential candidates Jon Huntsman and Gary Johnson; former governors Christine Todd Whitman, of New Jersey, Paul Cellucci, Jane Swift and William Weld of Massachusetts; and Meg Whitman, the 2010 nominee for California governor who supported Prop 8 in her campaign. Joining them are two members of Congress who voted for the federal law in 1996—Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, of Florida, and former Rep. Deborah Pryce, of Ohio.
The court's intervention is most needed now, the group says, when "discriminatory laws appear to reflect unexamined, unfounded, or unwarranted assumptions rather than facts and evidence, and the rights of one group of citizens hangs in the balance."