Apple asks Supreme Court for marriage equality across the U.S.

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Apple has long been in favor of LGBT rights. Photo: Bonhams
Photo: Bonhams

Apple was among a group of almost 400 companies which yesterday filed a so-called “friend of the court” brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that same-sex couples should have just as much of a right to marry as anyone else.

Interestingly, the brief doesn’t just focus on moral or ethical reasons that the Supreme Court should be on the right side of history, but actually makes a business case for the legalization of gay marriage; arguing that the confusing legality around the issue “places significant burdens on employers and their employees — making it increasingly hard to conduct business.”

Essentially the argument is that the varying state laws concerning gay marriage makes it tough for companies to recruit top talent and hand out employee benefits. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on April 28 about whether states such as Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee can continue to ban same-sex marriage.

This isn’t the first time that Apple has pleaded with the Supreme Court on behalf of gay marriage. Back in early 2013, a similar banding together of companies argued against the “societal stigma institutionalized by Proposition 8 and similar laws,” referring to the Californian ballot proposition created in opposition to gay marriage.

But while yesterday’s filing made a predominantly business case for LGBT rights, there’s no doubt that it is a human rights issue that has been particularly close to Apple’s heart over the past few years. Tim Cook came out as gay last year, and has spoken publicly on many occasions about how people should have the freedom to “love who they choose.” Cook has even had an anti-discrimination bill designed to protect LGBT employees named after him.

Last month Apple fired Jay Love, a former politician hired by the company to lobby on its behalf to the Alabama state legislature — who, unknown to Apple, also had a history of lobbying for anti-gay laws.

If you want to read the entire Obergefell v. Hodges document in which Apple is named, you can do so here.

Source: USA Today