The Case Against DOMA

The PrintingWorks Joins 277 Other Businesses, Groups and Entities on Amicus Brief

What have we done? The PrintingWorks has joined an “amicus” brief filed by 278 businesses, cities, and other employers, along with organizations that represent employers, advising the Supreme Court of the impact of DOMA upon the American employer. The brief was filed in the Supreme Court on February 27, 2013. We understand that the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the case on Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

What is the case? United States v. Windsor, in which the Supreme Court will review a ruling by a court of appeals that the Federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

Why is this our issue? Because we are employers and business owners. Broadly, the problem is that DOMA forces an employer to put its lawfully-married employees into two categories. That creates regulatory, tax, benefits, and morale problems, which the brief explains in detail. Additionally, for those LGBT business owners, DOMA hinders their ability to pass the benefits of businesses to their families. According to Justin Nelson, NGLCC President and Co-Founder, “When the DOMA was signed into law in 1996, the legislation silenced the rights of 16 million Americans, but also an important subset of almost 1.4 million LGBT-owned businesses–Americans who today cannot easily pass the benefits of their industry to their families.”

Give me an example. Where most health-care benefits are concerned, the law makes an employer withhold more from the W-2 of a lawfully-married employee if his spouse is of the same sex than if not.

Who is our group? The group of 278 amici that we have joined is a broad and diverse group: global and local, huge and small (that’s us), commercial and municipal. Companies who sell jeans and video games and cancer-fighting drugs and insurance and software and shoes and movies; investment banks and grape farmers; hospitals and landscapers, builders of homes and search engines and chips, hoteliers and advertisers and accounting firms and real estate developers; printers and bakers. Employers of engineers, police officers, lawyers, salespersons, baristas. Businesses, cities, counties, professional firms. DOMA hits all employers.

What do we want? A simple rule: that the federal government will not hinder an employer from treating all of its married employees in the same way. We want to create the best, most productive work-place environment possible, so that our organizations can be as efficient, productive and competitive as possible. It ill serves that objective when the federal government obliges us to treat one set of married employees differently than another.

Read the full brief here.