Pfizer Joins 32 States Seeking High Court Marriage Ruling

Thirty prominent companies and 32 states urged the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage, adding to calls from both sides as the justices prepare in the coming weeks to say whether they will intervene.

The companies include Deutsche Bank AG, eBay Inc., Pfizer Inc., Target Corp. and Viacom Inc. In court papers filed this week, they said inconsistent state marriage laws posed a human-resources problem.

The different laws force companies to “affirm discrimination we regard as injurious to our corporate missions and contrary to non-discrimination laws and policies,” the group said in court papers. The businesses includes Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.

Appeals in gay-marriage cases from Utah, Virginia and Oklahoma are likely to be before the justices when they meet Sept. 29 for a private conference in advance of the nine-month term that starts the following week. Under its practices from previous years, the court could act as quickly as Sept. 30.

The states weighing in are almost evenly divided in their laws. Colorado is leading a group of 17 states that ban gay marriage. That group said a Supreme Court ruling would “stave off the increasing burden of same-sex marriage litigation against the states.”

A second group of 15, led by Massachusetts, directly urged the high court to declare same-sex marriage a constitutional right. “Denying same-sex couples access to marriage creates second-class families,” the group argued.

Proponents of gay marriage have won federal appeals court victories in five states, with Indiana and Wisconsin joining the list yesterday.

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