Rays, Giants back right-to-marry resolution

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays became the third professional sports team in support of same-sex marriage, joining the San Francisco Giants and New England Patriots.

More than 70 briefs from signatories -- including Fortune 100 companies, faith organizations, the mayors of 226 cities, children's advocacy groups, civil rights groups and others -- are expected to be filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the plaintiffs in marriage cases from four states that the justices will hear this spring.

By hearing the cases -- Bourke/Love v. Beshear (Kentucky), DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan), Tanco v. Haslam (Tennessee), and Obergefell v. Hodges and Henry v. Hodges (Ohio) -- the justices will have the opportunity to bring a national resolution to the question of whether same-sex couples can be denied the right to marry.

Rays team president Brian Auld has been supportive all along, citing the Rays' loyal fan base and the organization's support of all its employees.

"This is simply the right thing to do," Auld said. "We pride ourselves on being an employee-first organization, and we want to make sure that our employees know they are valued and respected no matter who they happen to love."

Said Larry Baer, the Giants' president and CEO: "San Francisco is the epicenter of the marriage equality movement, and it is only fitting that its professional sports team would join in this effort. The San Francisco Giants are proud to sign the brief, because it speaks directly to our core values of equality and social justice for all."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.