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Lobby Bar part of small biz lobby challenging Defense of Marriage Act

Capitol Hill businesses are joining the nationwide battle against a federal law that limits marriage to a one-man, one-woman union and forces employers to discriminate against them.

Fitting for its name, The Lobby Bar is one of the 278 businesses lobbying against the Defense of Marriage Act, with an amicus brief filed last week.

“Broadly, the problem is that DOMA forces employers to put its lawfully-married employees in two categories,” says Paul Villa, co-owner of The Lobby Bar. “That creates regulatory, tax, benefits and morale problems, which the brief explains in detail.”

Villa says he got involved because of his association with the Greater Seattle Business Association – he’s on the board of directors – which has been involved on a national level with the two DOMA court cases.

“The name, The Lobby Bar, came from our desire to lobby for LGBT causes, and because we wanted the design of the space to look like a hotel lobby bar. So it was a natural fit for us to sign on to this brief,” Villa says.

The friend-of-the-court brief, which was added to the Windsor v. United States case, challenges the 1996 act and advises the Supreme Court of its impacts.

According to The Seattle Times, the City of Seattle, Microsoft, Starbucks, seven other U.S. cities and dozens of corporate employers first filed the brief in July.

Under DOMA, the federal government treats health-care benefits to an employee’s same-sex partner as income, subject to federal income taxes — a cost not incurred by opposite-sex couples. 

As an employer providing benefits to employees in same-sex partner relationships, Seattle taxes gay employees the value of their partners’ health insurance.

Seattle and the other employers also incur payroll taxes on the value of those benefits as if they were wages to the worker. 

“For me personally, when it comes to healthcare benefits, the law makes my employer withhold more from my W2 than if my partner were of the opposite sex,” Villa says.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case in March, with a decision expected by the end of June, according to NBC News.

Here’s a list of 43 other Seattle-based businesses that have signed the brief:

  • Seattle Hospitality Group LLC
  • The Seattle Lesbian, LLC
  • Greater Seattle Business Association
  • Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • The City of Seattle, Washington
  • Amazon.com, Inc.
  • Bigelow Villa LLC  dba The Lobby Bar
  • Car Toys, Inc.
  • Central Physical Therapy and Fitness, Inc
  • City Catering Company
  • City Lites Neon, Inc.
  • DML Insurance Services, Inc.
  • DRY Soda Co.
  • Eldercare Consulting
  • Flanery CPA
  • Greater Seattle Business Association
  • Homeward Pet Adoption Center
  • ID Financial, LLC
  • Integrity Law Group
  • Jonathan L. Bowman, Attorney at Law, PS
  • Kinzer Real Estate
  • Kollmar Sheet Metal Works, Inc.
  • Larson Marketing & Communications LLC
  • Law Office of Lisa E. Schuchman
  • Law Offices of Cynthia F. Buhr PLLC
  • Mona Smith PLLC
  • Public Interest Law Group, PLLC
  • RLL Consulting & Advocacy, LLC
  • Seabold International Services LLC
  • Seattle Hospitality Group LLC
  • The Seattle Lesbian, LLC
  • Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • Skellenger Bender, P.S.
  • Spectra Law PS
  • Stone Way Eateries, LLC
  • Stuffed Cakes, LLC
  • Total Home Improvement Inc.
  • 206 Inc.
  • VCB Consulting & Accounting Services
  • Velsch Unlimited LLC
  • Verity Credit Union
  • VitalSource Staffing, LLC
  • Vulcan Inc.
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4 thoughts on “Lobby Bar part of small biz lobby challenging Defense of Marriage Act

  1. I see some duplicate entries on your list, like GSBA or The Seattle Lesbian LLC.
    Said that, what’s the true number of businesses?

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