While not exactly positioned as a moral stance against bigotry and homophobia, Starbucks has joined with 70 other companies to call out the bureaucratic nightmare created by the Defense of Marriage Act. The legal document is opposed to things like “costly compliance specialists” and double-filed insurance claims, but deep down everyone at SBUX knows that this is about doing right by the many, many homosexuals upon whose backs they’ve built their empire.
Top U.S. companies including Google, Microsoft, and Starbucks took the unusual step on Thursday of legally documenting their opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act.
If companies don’t want to discriminate, because it hurts their recruiting efforts or they’re just opposed to it in principle, then DOMA causes a bunch of “workarounds” that come with wasteful administrative costs of their own.
Companies complain that when a same-sex couple legally marries, it requires them “to maintain two sets of books.” That’s because the couple is considered married under state law but not married under federal law. “The double entries ripple through human resources, payroll, and benefits administration,” they write.
Some of the companies have had to pay consultants to jury-rig systems used to track benefits and taxes so they can accommodate the double records. “These dual regimes have spawned an industry of costly compliance specialists,” they complain.
“The burden on the small employer is especially onerous,” the companies point out. Small businesses can’t afford to hire consultants, and “such burdens, standing alone, might chill a smaller employer from employing an otherwise qualified employee because she happens to be married to a same-sex spouse.”