Prediction: Supreme Court will strike down gay marriage bans, and it won’t be close

CATEGORY: LGBTGay marriage will finally get its day before the Supreme Court. The issues are legally and culturally complex and the outcome uncertain in the eyes of many observers. I’m no Constitutional scholar, but I think I know what might happen here.

I expect that the Court’s left-leaning justices will vote to strike down gay marriage bans (the Defense of Marriage Act, Prop 8, etc.) for obvious reasons: these measures represent an unwarranted denial of civil rights to large swaths of the population, which is anathema to the progressive mind.

I also expect these justices to be joined by Roberts and Alito, at the least. These men were marked out as servants of the nation’s corporate will when they were nominated and they have done little since taking the bench to change anyone’s mind. So, if I might be cynical for a moment, the question becomes “what outcome in this case best serves corporate America?”

I wrote back in February that the gay marriage war is all but over. A string of prominent Republicans have now endorsed marriage equality and a list of 278 employers, organizations and municipalities filed a friend of the court brief with the SCotUS opposing DOMA. That list of businesses includes some serious heavyweights, like:

  • Adobe Systems Inc.
  • Aetna Inc.
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Alcoa Inc.
  •, Inc.
  • American International Group, Inc. (AIG)
  • Apple Inc.
  • Bain & Company, Inc.
  • The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (BNY Mellon)
  • Bankers Trust Co.
  • Biogen Idec, Inc.
  • BlackRock, Inc.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
  • Boston Scientific Corporation
  • Broadcom Corporation
  • Car Toys, Inc.
  • CBS Corporation
  • Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • Citigroup Inc.
  • Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC
  • Deutsche Bank AG
  • eBay Inc.
  • Electronic Arts Inc.
  • EMC Corporation
  • Ernst & Young LLP
  • Facebook, Inc.
  • The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
  • Google Inc.
  • Intel Corporation
  • Intuit Inc.
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Levi Strauss & Co.
  • Liberty Mutual Group Inc.
  • Marriott International, Inc.
  • Mars, Incorporated
  • The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Moody’s Corporation
  • Morgan Stanley
  • New York Life Insurance Company
  • NIKE, Inc.
  • Orbitz Worldwide
  • Partners HealthCare System, Inc.
  • Pfizer Inc.
  • Qualcomm Incorporated
  •, Inc.
  • Starbucks Corporation
  • Sun Life Financial (U.S.) Services Company, Inc.
  • Thomson Reuters
  • Twitter, Inc.
  • UBS AG
  • Viacom Inc.
  • Walt Disney Company
  • Xerox Corporation

It’s certain that not all American businesses think gay marriage is a good idea, but this list would seem to represent a pretty impressive cross-section of the corporate landscape. In other words, the consensus of the US business community is that marriage equality is, well, good for business. This means that corporate HR groups must have strong reason to believe that treating everyone the same benefits things like worker morale and productivity, factors which serve the bottom line.

Who the hell knows how the “strict constructionist” Scalia and the hateful, unreconstructed asshole Thomas will vote. In the end, I doubt it will matter. I’m betting on a 7-2 vote to strike down Prop 8 and DOMA.

Time will tell.

3 replies »

  1. I think your analysis is spot on, except I think that the other 2 Justices may find it too embarrassing to be on the wrong side of history. Could be 9-0 vote. But then maybe my sense of wrong and right is overriding my realistic view of these Justices.