Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Prop. 8 bad for budget

The budget of the State of Caleeforneeya is in a pickle, according to Arnold and the ‘electeds.’ No one can seem to agree on what to cut, where to save, or how to raise new revenue. Yet while Sacramento drowns in the Red Sea of deficits, a significant source of new income is about to be sacrificed by voters in the November election. Not only is this potential tsunami of cash unappreciated, it is being actively challenged by some folks who, ironically, receive all of their income, tax free!

I’m speaking of same-sex marriage. The California Supreme Court, in a recent landmark 4-3 decision, declined to stay its decision to legalize gay marriage until after the November election. Predictably, the opponents created Proposition 8, much like the 2000 election’s Prop 22, to halt this foolishness. By adding a paragraph to Article I of the California Constitution, Prop 8 will supersede the Supreme Court’s right to grant marriage licenses to same gender couples, once and for all.
The conservative and religious backers of Prop 8 are terrified that not only will same gender couples be allowed to continue to wed here, but that couples from all over the United States will start getting married in the land of the Golden Bear. It seems that California, unlike Massachusetts, “does not required marriage to be valid in the couple’s home state,” so brace yourselves for thousands of happy couples traveling cross country for a State sanctioned ceremony, concluding with, “I do.”
But while Prop 8 proponents pop a pulmonary over that possibility, let’s pause to consider some economic benefits. There are 6200 weddings a day in the US, and the statistics put the number of gays at roughly ten percent, so that’s 620 additional nuptials. The average budget for a wedding is about $20,000…gulp…with the rings alone averaging $1016 per couple. Gifts for the bride and groom or bride-bride or groom-groom run between $70 and $100 each, plus the average honeymoon costs three times as much as a two-person vacation, or close to $3500.
Plop back on the pew, nay-sayers, because we’re looking at over sixteen million dollars a day added to our revenue stream, plus we all know gays are going to have the most fabulous flowers, trendiest tuxedos, and oodles of organza!
Admittedly, there are still those who believe the very sanctity of marriage is doomed by same-sex couples joining the legions of newlyweds. So why don’t these sanctimonious heterosexuals place their nuptials on ‘hold’ until the Proposition backers get to boot the wannabe weirdos out of the courthouse and down the church steps? Do they really want to have their John Doe and Jane Jones intermingled in the marriage license listings with the likes of Mary Kay and Kathy Bates or Roger Moore and Juan Valdez?
Even with the benefits of traditional marriage, like social approval and the added ‘glue’ of offspring, today over half of ‘legitimate’ unions are ended by court decree. So here’s yet another source of income for the State: gay divorce attorneys!
Prop 8 (was that 8 or ‘hate?’) will pass only if there are sufficient numbers of voters threatened by two people who love one another, and have maintained their sometimes decades long relationships without any of the social encouragement or legal inheritance, hospital visitation, income tax or insurance benefits as they do.
So if that nice gentleman in a suit and white shirt, who is making the rounds in our town, happens to knock on your door to discuss the “California Marriage Protection Act,” tell him he might do better in Orange County. But please don’t be offensive or rude, because if it’s the same guy who was in my neighborhood, he’s a Mormon bishop, and we wouldn’t want to offend anyone’s sensibilities.


Anonymous said...

Well, if the traditional concept of marriage being between one man and one woman, which goes back to before recorded history, is now outmoded, why not allow polygamy?
Think of the revenue that could bring the state...

Marian said...

Terrific, witty and informative column! No surprise. Loretta Redd is smart and right on. I thought of the social justice aspects of why we need to vote NO on Prop 8, but how smart to promote the financial losses if Prop 8 passes. For many, that is a much more persuasive reason to VOTE NO on 8.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, no dice.. Marriage is between a Man and a Woman. End of story... glad Barack Obama agrees with keeping family values intact.

JeffInSB said...

Prop 8 will bring in tax revenue - male couples, with their associated male incomes, moving to California will help tremendously.

The people trying to legislate morality need to start worrying about themselves vs trying to legislate what people do in their bedrooms or in a courthouse.

Who cares, get with the times, no on 8. That Mormon knucklehead came around my neighborhood but I didn't get a chance to have a little chat with the little guy. Too bad. His flyer makes for wonderful toilet paper.

Abelard said...

This is a great column, but didn't go far enough on the monetary issue.

Let's (conservatively) say that there are roughly 30,000 gay marriages in CA before Nov. 4 and then Prop 8 passes.

You now have 60,000 individuals who will have legal standing to sue the individual counties who issues marriage licenses as well as the State of California for voiding their marriage (should that be the interpretation of the courts).

So, you now have to factor in the cost of that litigation (millions upon millions of dollars) not including the costs of time to walk these suits through the process. Then, add the revenue lost from potential refunds of the marriage license fee and we are talking a heck of a lot more than just the lost of wedding revenues.

If the citizens of California want Prop 8 to pass, that is their choice. However, they have no room to complain when disenfranchised gays and lesbians sue (which is their right).

If the pro-Prop 8 people are determined to stand their ground, they better expect to pay for it.