Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) have appended their signatures to a brief filed with the Supreme court, contending that same-sex marriage restrictions harm their business.
The three tech heavyweights constitute a list of 278 companies which support the friend-of-the-court filing; a filing in support of gay marriages.
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Other renowned names in tech circles who have signed the filing include Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA), Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO), Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), Twitter, Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ:ADBE) and eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY). Non tech companies supporting the same cause include Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Nike, Inc. (NYSE:NKE), among others. Big banks like Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) and Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) have also signed the filing.
It has been noted that all the 278 companies whose names appear in the filing operate or are located in states where same-sex marriages are legally recognized. Because of this, there has been some friction between the pro-gay laws and DOMA laws. The latter bars federal recognition of gay marriages and as such, overrides pro-gay laws.
Hurting tech companies’ profits
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and other tech companies say that the conflict between same-sex marriages and DOMA laws is negatively affecting their bottom lines.
The filing argues that the conflict attracts extra costs and comes with a lot of bureaucratic tussles. According to the filing, DOMA forces companies to treat employees differently based on their sexual orientation and marital status. The filing further exclaims that this dissimilar treatment of employees negatively reflects on companies’ ability to uphold their principles.
In a nutshell, the filing points out that the disparity in treatment among different employees based on sexual orientation negatively affects employee morale. Similarly, it poses a huge challenge when recruiting new talent- a process that it is very important for tech companies.
The filing argues that these factors negatively affect net profit.
A tool for branding
While taking sides on such a contentious social issue passes by as a huge risk, Stanford University Law Professor Jane Schacter believes that tech companies may benefit. Schacter argues that the whole sex-marriage tussle is being used as a tool for branding.
She said tech companies want to take a futuristic approach to issues. They want to create an identity that Schacter describes as, “We’re the future. We’re where things are moving, not where they’ve been in the past.”
Although Schacter believes that the filing could sway the justices’ outlook on same-sex marriage laws, she admits that there is formidable opposition from a notable number of institutions.