Sunday, April 05, 2009

We've Got Your Stimulus, Baby

While Wall Street is puking into its million dollar toilets and the folks in Washington, DC are putting together economic survival kits and throwing a TARP over the country, one much-maligned state in the economically devastated Midwest has come up with a stimulus package of their own.

From the
Des Moines Register this morning comes the news that by merely not obstructing its gay citizens right to marry each other, Iowa's economy stands to grow to the tune of 5.3 million dollars per year, create hundreds of jobs and attract new residents and new businesses to the state over the next two to five years. That's millions of dollars in tax, tourism and consumer revenue, jobs and industry by doing nothing but ending a ban on gay marriage. Hear me again. It's a gain of money, jobs and business that costs Iowa nothing ... zip ... zero ... nada ... and all they had to do was say that equal rights means equal rights for everyone. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty stimulated by that.

I'm also tickled
pink to read that people are finally waking up and realizing that we are a sought-after commodity. Is the economy in your state struggling? Are businesses closing? Are people leaving your state in droves to find work elsewhere? Attract Teh Gays.

Unlike Connecticut and Massachusetts - the other states that permit gay marriage - Iowa has no nearby competitors for same-sex couples who want to marry. Businesses could see $160 million in new wedding and tourism spending over the next three years, according to a study from researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles. "Iowa pretty much has the Midwest all to itself," said Lee Badgett, a University of Massachusetts economist who co-authored the 2008 report. "It's in the middle of a lot of states that have a lot of same-sex couples. It's in a good position."
That's right. Iowa has cornered the market on us, and the rest of you Heartland states are going to have to hustle to catch the gravy train before it pulls out of the station taking all your queers with it. Compete for us, bitches.

"It makes Iowa overall a more welcoming state," Redlawsk said. "That's a good thing from the standpoint of businesses who, frankly, are concerned about quality of life issues for their employees."
Honestly, I can't wait until this trend catches on. I eagerly await the day the whole Midwest is dotted with billboards advertising gay wedding chapels and papered with ads offering gay honeymoon getaway packages.

And why are
we worth so much to Iowa (and potentially to your state, too)?
Same-sex marriage will yield an estimated net gain of $5.3 million per year for Iowa state government, according to the report from UCLA's Williams Institute, a nonprofit think tank that studies sexual orientation and public policy. "It's not going to have a huge impact," Badgett said. "But the impact will be positive. "Fewer gays and lesbians in Iowa will qualify for public benefits such as Medicaid if they marry and combine incomes, the study found. Nearly 90 percent of same-sex married couples who file their taxes jointly also would pay more because of their higher earnings.

Sales tax revenue would rise because of increased spending on florists, hotels and other wedding expenses. The increases would offset the married gay couples who pay less or receive other marriage-related deductions, according to the study."What people care about right now are their pocketbooks," Redlawsk said. "The moral issues are just not as high on anybody's list right now, given the economic environment."
(See, that's what I love about moral issues. They're flexible!) I'd also like to state that, while I'm sure the wedding industry does benefit, there are other important economic reasons for getting the hell out of the obstructionist way of same-sex marriage. Dependent insurance premiums will rise thanks to the inclusion of a name on that line for "spouse." Home and automobile purchases will rise thanks to the ability to include both incomes on a loan application without having to jump through hoops and explain that, no, the other name on the application isn't your parent or your co-signer. There are just a whole hell of a lot of things heterosexual people take for granted and don't even think about with regard to what "marriage" means after the wedding is over. I'd like to thank Iowa, personally, for thinking about those.

Of course, not everyone
sees the Iowa decision as a victory. There are some who still believe that the "will of the people" is for gays and lesbians to be denied their civil rights, even though polling shows that as high as 75% of voters favor some kind of legalized form of marriage or civil union for their gay and lesbian family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. For those nay-sayers who want to let the people decide this issue by voting to amend rather than follow the Constitution, they're going to have to wait awhile.
Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, an opponent of gay marriage in the past, said Friday he was reviewing the court's ruling. But there are significant hurdles to overcome to amend the Iowa Constitution.The Legislature must approve a constitutional amendment during two consecutive sessions before the issue goes to a statewide ballot, meaning the earliest that could happen would be in 2012. Massachusetts has a nearly identical process. "Opponents in Massachusetts couldn't do anything immediately," Redlawsk said. "As time went by, people realized that the sky hasn't fallen, the world hasn't ended."

That's right. While they're waiting, Iowans (and the rest of the country) are going to be learning what they've already learned in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont. When gay and lesbian people get married nothing cataclysmic happens. Heterosexual marriage licenses don't become null and void. Heterosexual couples are not struck with unexplained infertility leading to death of the human species. Children are not snatched off the streets and turned into gay and lesbian sex slaves. Natural disasters don't increase in frequency or degree of devastation. No one demands the right to marry their cat.

Now, whose next
in line for the Gay and Lesbian Economic Stimulus Plan? Illinois? Illinois?? Hello, Illinois? Are you listening?


Bandobras said...

I'm sorry but I must strenuously oppose any attempt by any jurisdiction in the United States to end discrimination due to sexual orientation.
Not that I'm opposed to same sex marriage, but because we did it already in Canada and we are getting the economic benefit.
If other states keep caving in to this our stimulus is going to fizzle so quick we'll have to spend a fortune on viagra.

Kwach said...

That's okay, we'll still lust after your healthcare system.

: )