Sports Teams Come Out In Support Of Gay Marriage

Robert Pursell Contributor
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The push for a federal guarantee for same-sex marriage has gained three very visible supporters, as the New England Patriots, San Francisco Giants, and Tampa Bay Rays have joined 376 corporations in filing an amicus brief Thursdayurging the Supreme Court to strike down state bans on gay marriage.

In the friend-of-the-court letter, the reigning Super Bowl and World Series champs joined corporate giants like Google, Goldman Sachs, and Coca-Cola to ask the Supreme Court to eliminate the bans on the grounds that they are adversely affecting the corporations ability to do business.

According to the brief, which you can read in full here, the companies argue that same-sex marriage bans creates an unfair landscape of differential treatment towards employees within the same corporations, based solely on what state they reside in:

Some of the states in which amici do business make marriage equally available to all of our employees and colleagues; others prohibit marriages between couples of the same sex and refuse to recognize existing same-sex marriages. This dual regime burdensamici. It creates legal uncertainty and imposes unnecessary costs and administrative complexities on employers, and requires differential employer treatment of employees who are similarly situated save for the state where they reside.

The brief continues, calling the state laws that ban gay marriage “discriminatory”:

State laws that prohibit or decline to recognize marriages between same-sex couples hamper employer efforts to recruit and retain the most talented workforce possible in those states. Our successes depend upon the welfare and morale of all employees, without distinction. The burden imposed by inconsistent and discriminatory state laws of having to administer complicated schemes to account for differential treatment of similarly situated employees breeds unnecessary confusion, tension, and diminished employee morale.

In regards to the decision to join the brief, Giants president Larry Baer noted that San Francisco has long been at the forefront of the gay rights movement, and that supporting the brief was simply an extension of the core values present in the Bay Area.

“San Francisco is the epicenter of the marriage equality movement and it is only fitting that its professional sports team would join in this effort,” said Baer. “The San Francisco Giants are proud to sign the brief because it speaks directly to our core values of equality and social justice for all.”

The decision to file the amicus brief comes in preparation for the Supreme Court’s April 29 hearing on gay marriage, in which the court will hear verbal arguments regarding whether states can keep their amendments prohibiting gay marriage.

Interestingly enough, the sports franchises signed onto the brief the same week that second baseman Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets made headlines by publicly telling that he takes issue with the fact that the MLB ambassador for inclusion, Billy Bean, is gay.

“I disagree with his lifestyle,” Bean said Tuesday. “I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual.”

Following his statement, a spokesperson for the team said that Murphy will stick to speaking only about baseball for the rest of the season.

Gay marriage is currently legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia.