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Washington United for Marriage, the broad coalition working to approve Referendum 74, today chastised opponents for making a false business case in their effort to overturn the bipartisan marriage law that simply gives all loving couples the freedom to marry.
With 488 business endorsements ranging from small, downtown shops to iconic Washington employers like Microsoft, Starbucks, REI, Nordstrom, Google, Amazon and Alcoa, as well as leading business organizations like the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, opponents are clearly seizing on arguments that fly in the face of real-life business experience and contradict studies which show that same-sex marriage would immediately contribute to the economic engine of the state.
For example, according to the Williams Institute, at the USC School of Law, about 9,500 same-sex couples would marry within the first three years of the law, creating an $88 million boost to the state and local economy, with a $57 million boost the first year alone. In addition, the Institute concludes that those marriages would add $8 million in tax revenue to state and local coffers, with an additional $5 million in the first year. See the full study here.
“To assert that just one social indicator illustrates the fate of a States’ economic strength or weakness is to oversimplify all that should be taken into account to paint a clear picture of a region’s vitality,” said George Allen Senior Vice President for Government Relations for the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber regularly reaches out to employers and as such knows full well that fostering an open, inclusive and inviting workforce is one of the pillars to job creation and economic vibrancy.”
Ironically, today’s latest press claim from opponents comes as the Wall Street Journal published a piece on its MarketWatch entitled, “Gay Marriage is a Shot of Adrenaline for the U.S. Economy.” For example, the columnist notes, “…why not try something that brings families together and doesn’t cost the tax payer a dime. In fact, it saves taxpayers money, as it is much cheaper for the IRS to process joint income tax statements than it is to process them individually…More jobs, more tax revenue, less money wasted on the IRS seems like a good deal to me.” See the full article here.
“This is just gobbledygook,” said Zach Silk, WUM’s campaign manager about opponents’claims that states without the freedom to marry fare better economically. “If this were all about static economic charts, then the leading business people and corporate leaders throughout the state would not be standing behind our effort to defend the state’s marriage law and approve Referendum 74. With no one standing with them, I guess the next best thing is to throw some malarkey up against the wall and hope it sticks.”
Small business have lined up behind Referendum 74 because they believe it best reflects their community and sends a message to both customers and employees alike. “I support Referendum 74 because the marriage law treats everyone fairly and equally under the law and that means a lot to both my customers and thepeople who work for me,” said Alison Collins, who owns Boots Bakery & Lounge in Spokane and employs 12 people.
Added Don Orange, owner of Hoesley Auto and Tire in Vancouver which supports four family-wage jobs: “From a business perspective, this will draw business to our state. I am in Vancouver, and I’m right across the Oregon border. When marriage was legal in California, people went there to get married and I fully expect folks to do the same right here in Vancouver and that will help all of us.”
More specifically, Iowa and New York, two states that recently passed laws allowing the freedom to marry, have seen an immediate uptick in revenue as a result. In the first year after Iowa legalized same-sex marriage, wedding arrangements and tourism generated $12 to $13 million in economic activity and nearly $1 million in tax revenue. In the year following New York’s state passage of marriage equality, same-sex marriage generated $259 million in economic activity for New York City alone.