Report Shows Same-Sex Marriage has Positive Economic Impact on Iowa

A report recently released by the Williams Institute (UCLA Law School) found that the legalization of same-sex marriage in Iowa has had a positive impact on that State’s economy.   That comes as no surprise to me.  In an election year that seems as focused as ever on gay marriage — and in light of the fact that Republicans are using their anti-gay marriage views as a campaigning point, I found the timing of the report to be perfect.

Presidential candidates are focusing on repealing same-sex marriage in that state.  Michelle Bachmann recently had this to say:

“Marriage, historically, for all human history has been between a man and a woman. It hasn’t been the same-sex marriage,” Bachmann said. “And remember that in Iowa, it was judges that made the decision — not the legislature, which are the people’s representatives, and certainly, not the people.”

[Source:  NY Daily News]

Once again, folks, when the people and the legislature vote to enact discriminatory laws, it is the responsibility of the courts to overturn those laws and uphold the constitution.

Moving right along … I have to wonder why Iowa’s citizenry would want to repeal gay marriage when it has so obviously benefited them in these tough economic times.  That seems downright idiotic.

According to the report, same-sex couples and their guests spent some $12 to $13 million on wedding arrangements and tourism in 2009 when same-sex marriage was legalized in that state. That’s a hefty boost to the overall economy of Iowa. The report continues that the economic boost resulting from same-sex marriages “is likely to have added $850,000 to $930,000 in tax revenue to state and local coffers” during that same year.  That’s a serious chunk of change.

Moreover, during the same time period, approximately 1,233 out-of-state same-sex couples also traveled to Iowa to receive a marriage license. Those out-of-state couples spent roughly an additional $2.2 million on wedding arrangements in Iowa, which amounts to another $150,000 or so in additional tax revenue. Wow.

Here’s a novel idea:     If heterosexual Iowans want to ban gay marriage, they should make up the difference in lost revenue and exempt lesbian and gay couples from having to pay tax increases that result from the lost tax revenue.  That would be true equality.  I’m sure it will happen.  Right. When pigs fly, as they say.

Read the Williams Institute Report here.

An editorial published early this morning in the Globe Gazette cited the report and summed it up most aptly:

“We doubt that anyone who is opposed to same-sex marriage because of “moral” or religious reasons will be swayed by some positive economic news, but it’s interesting to note the impact that the legalization of gay marriage has had in Iowa.”

The editorial went on to say:

“…[I]n the more than two years that gay marriage has been legal in Iowa, we have seen no negative effects (except, perhaps, for the needless removal of three state Supreme Court justices, and the ill-will expressed by some people opposed to the right).”

The editorial concluded with this statement:

“Since the law has been in effect we have seen no evidence that it has had any negative impact on marriage, on families or on society. It’s only real impacts have been positive.”

Read the full editorial here.

Again, I must ask why the good people of Iowa want to ban something that has served them so well?   It defies logic.


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copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski


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