In November 2011, CBS was one of 70 companies which signed what is known as an amicus (pronounced ah-mee-cus) brief with the United States Supreme Court. The so-called “friend of the court” document argued that the Defense of Marriage Act was bad for business.
What a difference a little more than a year can make.
On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court struck down part of the law known as DOMA, which barred same-sex married couples from receiving Federal benefits. It’s been an amazing year for LGBT rights, with the Supreme Court also vacating previous lower court decisions, effectively killing California’s Proposition 8, the State law that said marriage was only between a man and a woman. That means in a matter of days 13 States and the District of Columbia will offer marriage equality, covering almost a third of the US population.
For me, married to a wonderful husband named Joseph Vasquez, it’s time to start doing my homework. With the demise of DOMA, more than 1000 new Federal benefits are in our grasp. Benefits that will make our lives easier, like filing a joint tax return. To other benefits that will secure our financial future, like survivor benefits for Social Security. The list is long and complex. And we’ve only started educating ourselves about what this all means.
As one of the leaders of CBS Angle, the Company’s LGBT employee resource group, we’re looking at ways to keep employees informed about all the changes coming their way. There’s going to be a lot of ground to cover. On the eve of the Supreme Court decision, CBS News 60 Minutes Correspondent Lesley Stahl interviewed a key advocate for marriage equality, Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry. It was one of our well attended Angle events that we have collaborated with other companies like McGraw-Hill, the New York Times, MTV Networks and others. Two hundred attendees heard about what could happen at the Supreme Court, and most importantly, what the future will bring. You can watch the entire presentation online at: https://vimeo.com/69184383
On this occasion, the news was very favorable for LGBT rights. But there’s more work to do. And all of us at CBS Angle are glad to be watching history unfold before us.