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Gay marriage: why corporations are coming out against DOMA

Nearly 300 US companies filed a brief on behalf of the New York woman whose challenge of DOMA has reached the Supreme Court. Why support gay marriage? For one, it's just good business.

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Pictured in this file photo is Edith Windsor who sued the government in November 2010 because she was told to pay $363,053 in federal estate tax after her partner of 44 years, Thea Spyer, died in 2009. On Wednesday, 278 companies filed an amicus brief in support of Windsor's case which has been taken up by the Supreme Court.

AP Photo/Richard Drew, File

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Wading into the highly emotional but quickly shifting national debate over gay marriage, 278 companies filed an amicus brief Wednesday in support of Edith Windsor, the New York woman whose challenge of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has been taken up by the United States Supreme Court.

Among the companies filing the brief are behemoths Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Starbucks, corporate entities associated with America’s youth culture. But others include pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, insurance mainstay Aetna, and Citigroup.

In addition to the challenge to DOMA, which centers on Ms. Windsor’s having had to pay a substantial federal estate tax following the death of her partner of more than 40 years, whom she married in Canada, the Supreme Court is also taking up California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. Windsor would not have had to pay any federal estate tax on the inheritance had the United States recognized her marriage. The court will hear arguments on Prop. 8 on March 26, and on DOMA on March 27.

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