Corporations say DOMA is a big tax hassle

I always say that everything’s about taxes. The current legal wrangling about gay marriage proves it once again.

More than 200 companies have signed onto a brief filed with the Supreme Court saying that the Defense of Marriage Act has become an administrative hassle, forces them to discriminate against different classes of married employees, and should be overturned so that same-sex couples receive federal recognition.

I’ve written previously about United States v. Windsor, which the Court is likely to hear in March. Ms Windsor was married to Thea Spyer and inherited Spyer’s property in 2009, but also was hit with a large estate tax bill that would not have been assessed if She had be a He. Companies including Apple, Nike, Starbucks, Marriott International and Walt Disney, filed in support of Ms Windsor’s case.

As Erik Eckholm wrote in The New York Times in summarizing the brief’s argument, “Treating heterosexual and same-sex married employees differently under federal law, the brief said, imposed high administrative costs as companies maintained dual systems of tax withholding and payroll. It results in extra tax burdens for both companies and employees with health plans, and can affect payments including retirement, pension and life insurance as well as having a bad effect on morale.”