Last updated: 02:30 PM ET, Wed March 04 2015

American Airlines Joins Support of Marriage Equality

Airlines & Airports | American Airlines | Rich Thomaselli | March 04, 2015

American Airlines Joins Support of Marriage Equality

American Airlines announced on its Twitter feed Tuesday that it will join several other prominent companies, Apple among them, and filed a “friend of the court” brief Friday in support of marriage equality.

The United States Supreme Court will finally hear the case for marriage equality later this spring. The deadline for filing a "friend of the court" brief in favor of plaintiff same-sex couples is March 6.

According to the legal dictionary, a friend of the court brief is known as an amicus curiae. It is intended to “educate the court on points of law that are in doubt, gathers or organizes information, or raises awareness about some aspect of the case that the court might otherwise miss. The person is usually, but not necessarily, an attorney, and is usually not paid for her or his expertise. An amicus curiae must not be a party to the case, nor an attorney in the case, but must have some knowledge or perspective that makes her or his views valuable to the court. The most common arena for amici curiae is in cases that are under appeal (are being reconsidered by the court) and where issues of public interest—such as social questions or civil liberties—are being debated.”

American has long been an advocate of gay, lesbian and LGBT rights. It was the first major airline to implement same-sex domestic partner benefits in 2000 and offers equal health benefits and travel privileges to same-sex partners of LGBT employees. It was also the first major airline to implement both sexual orientation (1993) and gender identity (2001) in its workplace nondiscrimination policies, and implemented a company-recognized LGBT employee resource group known as GLEAM.

Last year, when American was one of the businesses leading the fight against Arizona’s proposed bill that would permit businesses to refuse service on religious grounds – a bill that many felt was disguised as a measure to allow discrimination against gays – American CEO Doug Parker penned a letter to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, saying “There is genuine concern throughout the business community that this bill, if signed into law, would jeopardize all that has been accomplished so far. Our economy thrives best when the doors of commerce are open to all.”

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