“In essence, the amicus brief argues, ‘the employer becomes the face of DOMA’s discriminatory treatment’,” writes Janet Tu at the Seattle Times.
To attract the best employees, companies have to offer robust benefits and a “workplace ethos of transparent fairness,” the brief says. But “DOMA forces amici to investigate the gender of the spouses of our lawfully married employees and then to single out those employees with a same-sex spouse. DOMA enforces discriminatory tax treatment of spousal health care benefits.”“The companies paint the law as an overburdening government regulation that should be repealed,” writes Lucas Grindley at The Advocate.
The companies say DOMA “forces” them “to investigate the gender of the spouses of our lawfully married employees and then to single out those employees with a same-sex spouse.” For example, HIPPA laws usually consider marriage a “qualifying event” that automatically enrolls a spouse in an employee’s health insurance. Companies now spend time and money weeding out any gay employees who get married.The New Civil Rights Movement piece includes a list of the amicus brief signatories. Might be nice to tell 'em "thanks."
If companies don’t want to discriminate, because it hurts their recruiting efforts or they’re just opposed to it in principle, then DOMA causes a bunch of “workarounds” that come with wasteful administrative costs of their own.
Companies complain that when a same-sex couple legally marries, it requires them “to maintain two sets of books.” That’s because the couple is considered married under state law but not married under federal law. “The double entries ripple through human resources, payroll, and benefits administration,” they write.
Some of the companies have had to pay consultants to jury-rig systems used to track benefits and taxes so they can accommodate the double records. “These dual regimes have spawned an industry of costly compliance specialists,” they complain.
“The burden on the small employer is especially onerous,” the companies point out. Small businesses can’t afford to hire consultants, and “such burdens, standing alone, might chill a smaller employer from employing an otherwise qualified employee because she happens to be married to a same-sex spouse.”