BOSTON, November 7, 2011 ( – A lawsuit seeking to nullify a U.S. law that protects marriage as between a man and a woman on the federal level has received the support of some of the largest and most powerful corporations in the country.

A friend-of-the-court brief filed last Thursday in the case of Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services argues that the Defense of Marriage Act imposes crippling burdens on employers.

Seventy employers are represented in the brief, including Microsoft, Starbucks, Google, NIKE, Levi Strauss and Co., CBS, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mass., Time Warner Cable, Xerox, Zipcar, and Stonyfield Farm. The cities of New York, Boston, and Cambridge are also represented.

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The document charges that DOMA causes “unnecessary cost and administrative complexity” for employers located in states where same-sex “marriage” is recognized by law.

Since same-sex “marriage” is recognized as legal in some states but not recognized by the federal government, employers must contend with a complex tax situation for “married” homosexual couples, the brief says.

It also complains that the law harms workplace morale and a company’s ability to recruit gay employees, causing companies to become “the face” of government “discrimination.”

“Employers are obliged to treat one employee spouse differently from another, when each is married, and each marriage is equally lawful,” the brief says. “The burden of DOMA’s dual regime is keenly felt by enterprises that conduct operations or do business in jurisdictions that authorize or recognize same-sex marriage.”

The Massachusetts lawsuit is one of many challenges to the federal statute pending in courts across the country. However, the Massachusetts effort has received national attention since it is the first to reach the federal appellate level, and would be appealed next to the Supreme Court, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The pro-marriage statute is under attack in Washington as well, with the Obama Administration having refused to defend the law, then argued in favor of overturning it.

House and Senate Democrats have also attempted to overturn the law in the legislature, and some Democrats have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the Massachusetts case.