Just when you thought it was safe to board a flight to California to say “I do” the Radical Christian Right wing nuts have come out of their closet with threats of lawsuits and radio attack ads.
Reaching a quick fever pitch with an “Urgent Marriage Alert,” the National Organization for Marriage has an ad running on a local talk radio across New York. It starts with “Grandma, my teacher says if grandpa was a girl it’s okay, you can still be married . . .” A young girl contends that Adam and Eve and, essentially, God, are old-fashioned and a boy asks if Dad married a man, who would be his mom?
The announcer then steps in with an “Urgent Marriage Alert”—likes there’s a weather-system of same-sex marriage spreading across the nation undermining every straight married couple out there. He tells listeners that New York Governor David Paterson “just ordered state officials to use our tax dollars to help same sex couples evade New York’s marriage laws.”
Well, the last time I looked, my partner and I paid our taxes just like every one else--so, some of that hard-earned tax money comes from the LGBT community.
We don’t evade our taxes and we’re certainly not trying to evade the marriage laws as the ad contends. If that was the case, we wouldn’t be fighting for our right to get married. In fact, we’re trying to invade the law so that we’re part of it. And, if it takes the executive order of a progressive governor for us to get our foot in the door of marriage here in New York then so be it.
However, whipping up a bit of same-sex marriage hysteria on the radio waves isn’t enough for these folks. Arising from Arizona like the Darth Vader of the Christian Right comes the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal wrongs group, which will sue Governor Paterson for what they consider to be his sidestepping of the legislature.
They contend legalizing same-sex marriage is the purview of the legislature since the Court of Appeals threw it back to our two houses in its legal decision a few years back. Well folks, the governor hasn’t with a stroke of a pen legalized same sex marriage here in New York. Lynn and I can’t walk into our local clerk’s office and get a marriage license. The “I do’s” we say here are not legally binding.
All Governor Paterson has done is bring the rest of state law into compliance with a recent appellate division ruling that says the state must recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. That’s a lot different than saying gays and lesbians can walk down the aisle legally in New York.
But given the state’s dire fiscal predicament, our elected officials may want to take a second look at passing New York’s legislation. Well actually, the Assembly looked at the bill and passed it and Governor Paterson is ready to sign it. The hold up is in the State Senate.
But back to our state’s budget deficit—legalizing same-sex marriage would be a windfall for state coffers and local economies. But instead of NY cashing in, California is expected to clean up.
A recent study by the Williams Institute, the foremost LGBT think tank which calls the UCLA Law School its home, predicts that same-sex marriages in the Golden State will bring nearly $700 million to the California wedding industry and pump almost $65 million in new revenue into the state coffers over the next three years. That money, according to the study, will come from the over 50,000 California same-sex couples and nearly 70,000 out of state lesbian or gay couples who will get married there. Not only will revenue increase for the public and private sectors but all those nuptials are likely to create and sustain over 2,100 jobs in California.
How about kick-starting the nation’s sagging economy? A recent study conducted by the Congressional Budget Office found that if all 50 states and the federal government recognized same-sex marriage, our weddings would generate almost $1 billion in revenue each year. According to other estimates, same-sex marriages could tack on more than $16 billion annually to the $70 billion wedding industry.
Here’s the real Urgent Marriage Alert—same-sex marriage isn’t a threat to hets. It’s a good thing--for us, for our families, for our economy and for our country.