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Apple, Google, hundreds of other US companies file court brief in support of same-sex marriage

A mass of 379 companies including Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court expressing their support for same-sex marriage, in advance of a landmark April hearing on the issue.

The brief puts forward a business case for making same-sex marriage legal nationwide, for instance arguing that it will let companies recruit the best talent by extending the same benefits given to heterosexual couples. Similarly the companies say it could also discourage workers from leaving a company to live in a state where same-sex marriages are recognized.

The current "dual regime," in which only some states recognize or allow same-sex marriages, is said (PDF) to create "legal uncertainty" and impose "unnecessary costs and administrative complexities" on businesses. The brief further claims that "companies that are diverse and inclusive obtain better profits and other outputs, thanks to improved team collaboration and commitment."

Other major corporations behind the curiae include Amazon, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Cisco, Disney, Dropbox, eBay, EA, General Electric, HP, Intel, Oracle, Pepsi, Qualcomm, Twitter, United Airlines, Verizon and Xerox.

April's hearing should determine whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. Even if the Supreme Court doesn't rule in that direction, it will still have to decide whether states without same-sex marriage should recognize marriages performed elsewhere.

Apple has long been a supporter of LGBT causes, having extended benefits to same-sex couple decades ago. Last year, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook came out as gay in an open letter supporting equality.

In 2008 the company also donated $100,000 to oppose Proposition 8, a ballot measure which briefly made gay marriage illegal in California.