Apple, Facebook, Intel, and Morgan Stanley. Big Companies Are Backing Gay Marriage

Exclusive: Scores of corporations
will file a Supreme Court brief favoring gay marriage later this week.
Signatories will include Apple, Facebook, Intel, and Morgan Stanley.

By Roger Parloff

FORTUNE — On Thursday, dozens of
American corporations, including Apple,Alcoa, Facebook, eBay, Intel,
and Morgan Stanley will submit an amicus brief in the landmark
Hollingsworth v. Perry case broadly
arguing to the U.S. Supreme Court that laws banning same-sex marriages,
like California’s ballot initiative Proposition 8, are unconstitutional
under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.

According to a draft copy obtained
by Fortune, the companies argue that such laws “send an unmistakable signal that same-sex couples are in some way inferior to opposite-sex
couples, a proposition
that is anathema to amici’s commitment to equality and fair treatment
to all.”

At least 60 companies had committed
to signing the brief as of Tuesday evening, according to Joshua
Rosenkranz, who is counsel of record on the brief and head of the
Supreme Court and appellate litigation
practice at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. That number is expected
to rise by Thursday, however, according to Rosenkranz. Others who have
already committed to sign include AIG, Becton Dickinson, Cisco, Cummins,
Kimpton, Levi Strauss, McGraw Hill, NCR, Nike,
Office Depot, Oracle, Panasonic, Qualcomm, and Xerox.

Though the brief adopts by
reference all of the arguments of the main brief challenging the
constitutionality of Prop 8—filed last week by Theodore Olson of Gibson
Dunn & Crutcher and David Boies
of Boies, Schiller & Flexner—it also argues that “recognizing the
rights of same-sex couples to marry is more than a constitutional issue.
It is a business imperative.”

Fleshing out that contention, the
companies argue: “By singling out a group for less favorable treatment,
Proposition 8 impedes businesses from achieving the market’s ideal of
efficient operations—particularly
in recruiting, hiring, and retaining talented people who are in the
best position to operate at their highest capacity. Amici are competing
domestically and internationally with companies inside and outside the
United States in places where all couples, regardless
of whether they are of the same sex, are afforded equal access to