Inconsistent Marriage Laws Impose Significant Burdens on Employers and Employees
Aspen Skiing Company has signed on to an amicus curiae brief filed today by Morgan Lewis in the United States Supreme Court. The company is one of 379 employers and employer organizations urging the High Court to consider the burdens imposed on both employers and employees by a fractured legal landscape with no uniform rule on same-sex marriage. The amicus curiae brief was filed in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, and urges the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm a uniform principle that all couples share in the right to marry.
“We’re participating, and doing so publicly, because marriage equality is a pressing business issue, and a pressing ethical issue, ”said Aspen Skiing Company President/CEO Mike Kaplan. “Our guiding principles say we want to treat others as they’d like to be treated. This is one way to do that for the benefit of our guests, our employees, and the community at large.”
The brief argues that the existing, confused legal landscape places significant burdens on employers and their employees—making it increasingly hard to conduct business. In addition to Aspen Skiing Company, which is the only ski resort to sign, other amici range from small, family-owned businesses to Fortune 100 companies, and corporate responsibility leaders like Starbucks and Nike, and are evenly distributed across many of the country’s most important industries, including technology, finance, sports, healthcare, and retail.
Aspen Skiing Company as well as other employers across the nation share a desire to attract and retain a talented workforce. As the brief points out, today most Americans live in jurisdictions where same-sex marriages are recognized. However, the laws of many states continue to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying, and decline to recognize these valid, existing marriages from other states. This makes it hard to recruit and retain good employees, and to allocate benefits in patchwork legal framework. In coordination with our fellow signatories, Aspen Skiing Company presents empirical evidence showing the value of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the detrimental effect of the absence of a single, uniform law in this area.