Nashville LGBT chamber signs business amicus brief supporting marriage equality

The Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce has signed on to an amicus curiae brief filed today by Morgan Lewis in the United States Supreme Court.  The LGBT Chamber is one of 379 employers and employer orginizations 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 vs Hodges case, and urges the US Supreme Court to affirm a uniform principle that all couples share in the right to marry.  

The brief argues that the existing confused legal landscape places significant burdens on employers and their employees – making it increasingly hard to conduct business.

The patchwork of inconsistent state marriage laws makes it harder and more costly for employers to recruit and retain talented employees, and to administer benefits systems. Quite simply, this burdens businesses by costing them both time and money.

LGBT Chamber Executive Director, Lisa Howe, stated, "Tennessee businesses are at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent. College students, tech talent, entrepreneurs, healthcare workers, educators, and anyone who wants to live in a state with marriage equality will choose from the 37 states where same sex marriage is legal." 

She added, "With unemployment rates dropping, it is more important than ever to provide our local businesses and local economy an equal playing field when it comes to recruiting, developing, and retaining human capital."

On February 12th, the LGBT Chamber organized a conference call with the authors of the brief to educate companies about the content and purpose of the brief. Seven LGBT Chamber members and 6 other businesses with strong roots in Tennessee joined the LGBT Chamber and almost 380 other signatories.

Next Steps for the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce

The LGBT Chamber does not want tax paying Americans to have to choose between marriage and employment.  It is possible and almost probable that after same sex couples get married, some individuals will lose their jobs, because they are not protected in their workplace based on their sexual orientation. A representative from the Nashville LGBT Chamber will participate at a one day briefing held by the U.S. Commission for Civil Rights entitled, "Examining Workplace Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Americans." The briefing will specifically focus on Title VII protections and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"We are working locally and nationally to protect LGBT people in the workplace.  No one should lose a job just because they went on a honeymoon with the person they love," said Lisa Howe, Executive Director of the LGBT Chamber.

The LGBT Chamber is the source for same sex couples wanting a safe and pleasant wedding planning experience.  The organization will prepare its members to be better able to market to and provide appropriate customer service for same sex couples.  Ms. Howe explains, "Same sex weddings are estimated to have at least a $37 million economic impact in Tennessee the first three years and will increase after that. We want our members to have an advantage from day one."  Between now and June, the LGBT Chamber will be highlighting their members who support the wedding industry.  LGBT Chamber President, Brad Pinson adds, "We advise those planning their wedding to consult the LGBT Chamber website directory for an inclusive florist, caterer, photographer, travel agent, or any other wedding vendor."  

Read the brief in full here:

379 Employers' Amicus Brief in OH Marriage Equality Case Obergefell v. Hodges

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