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Boston Scientific, Other Employers Win As Supreme Court Strikes Down Defense of Marriage Act

Boston Scientific and other employers had shown support for opponents of DOMA arguing that the law is bad for business. Today the Supreme Court sided with them.

June 26, 2013

2 Min Read
Boston Scientific, Other Employers Win As Supreme Court Strikes Down Defense of Marriage Act

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It's not often that device companies take strong public stances on topics that have large social ramifications.

At the state level, St. Jude Medical company publicly opposed a Minnesota effort in 2012 to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Its reasoning to back gay marriage was simple: it's good for business, and thereby the state of Minnesota, because it attracts talented people to the state who can be recruited to the company. The position of St. Jude, which has offered health benefits to same-sex couples since 2005, was vindicated when Minnesotans defeated the conservative effort to make gay marriage illegal in a ballot vote in the November elections. The state legislature legalized gay marriage earlier this year.

And Wednesday, the Supreme Court, in a historic 5-4 ruling, struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which Boston Scientific and more than 250 other employers opposed arguing that it was bad for business.

The Scotus Blog reported Wed that Justice John Kennedy sided with four liberal-leaning justices - Ruth Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan to write the opinion that states - to rule that DOMA, as it is called, is unconstitutional. Kennedy wrote:

DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.

DOMA’s avowed purpose and practical effect are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority
of the States.
 

In the amicus brief filed earlier this year, Boston Scientific and 277 other employers had argued:

In the modern workplace, the employer becomes the face of DOMA’s discriminatory treatment, and is placed in the role of intrusive inquisitor, imputer of taxable income, and withholder of benefits. The employer is thus forced by DOMA to participate in the injury of its own workforce morale.

-- By Arundhati Parmar, Senior Editor, MD+DI

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