Why the Religious Rightís NC Constitutional Ban On Gay Marriage Will Hurt the State Economy
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed May 09, 2012 at 11:32:29 AM EST
The religious right, with Billy Graham himself weighing in, has just convinced North Carolina voters to undermine their own economic well-being. I doubt many North Carolina residents asked, in the abstract, whether they would vote to sabotage their own state's economy would answer "yes!" But that's what 61% of Tar Heel state voters have probably just done.
NC's misleadingly titled "Defense of Marriage Act", just voted into the NC state constitution, probably won't have any impact on the institution of straight marriage in North Carolina, judging by the Massachusetts experience. But it likely will hurt the NC economy. That's the irony. It's not just that LGBTI Americans will be less inclined to spend their tourism dollars in NC - research shows that anti-gay bigotry is bad for the economy other ways too.

[below: A classic 2006 Daily Show spoof examines religious right's claim that gay marriage has destroyed Massachusetts.]

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Mass. Hysteria
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealthcare Protests

As researcher Richard Florida has demonstrated, American urban areas that can attract "cultural creatives" - especially intelligent, talented residents - do better economically, and attracting gay residents is an important part of that. As Florida described in a 2003 USA Today op-ed,

"Research I conducted with Gary Gates, an Urban Institute demographer, shows that the big new-ideas and cutting-edge industries that lead to sustained prosperity are more likely to exist where gay people feel welcome. Most centers of tech-based business growth also have the highest concentrations of gay couples. Conversely, major areas with relatively few gay couples tend to be slow- or no-growth places. "

There's a more subtle component to Florida's argument - he also points out that diversity, in itself, confers an economic advantage - because gay-rights friendly areas also tend to be more accepting of ethnic and cultural diversity in general. "Tolerance", or even outright support, for LGBTI rights works as a rather accurate proxy for acceptance of diversity in general, and diversity tends to spur innovation. Wrote Florida, in his USA Today column,

"Creative, innovative and entrepreneurial activities tend to flourish in the same kinds of places that attract gays and others outside the norm. To put it bluntly, a place where it's OK for men to walk down the street holding hands will probably also be a place where Indian engineers, tattooed software geeks and foreign-born entrepreneurs feel at home. When people from varied backgrounds, places and attitudes can collide, economic home runs are likely."

This is far from a new phenomenon, I would point out -- for thousands of years, port cities - mercantile hubs which have for obvious reasons enjoyed high levels of ethnic and cultural diversity - have been known for their exceptional economic prosperity.  

What is most astounding about yesterday's decision, by sixty one percent of North Carolina voters, to enshrine a radically restrictive anti-gay rights amendment barring not only same-sex marriage in the NC state constitution, but also banning civil unions and domestic partnerships for both gay and straight couples, is the likelihood that South Carolina voters of the "Tar Heel" state have just sent a resounding message to exceptionally talented and economically valuable young Americans from a wide range of minority groups -- not just LGBTI citizens but Asian and Hispanic Americans, indeed just about any American minority group one cares to think of -- "you're probably not welcome here".

It's unlikely that my own gay rights-friendly state, Massachusetts, will see an immediate flood of established, disgruntled gay couples fleeing institutionalized repression in the South, resettling to the Bay State. The results will be more gradual. But over time more exceptionally talented young gay and minority American citizens will opt to settle in the Bay State, where they're obviously more welcome.

After eight years, legalized same sex marriage has had no discernible impact on the institution of straight marriage in the Bay State - as many straight Massachusetts residents have no doubt noticed. Dire warnings from the religious right didn't pan out; there was no downside, only the upside of an expansion of human rights for Massachusetts LGBTI residents.  

In 2004, opponents of same-sex marriage were emitting warnings about the alleged threat they said was posed by the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts that look even more ridiculous now than eight years ago.

My favorites include a claim, from James Dobson, that gay marriage would cause [straight] families to crumble, "presaging the fall of Western Civilization itself." Another was from MA Democratic State Representative Emile J. Goguen, who warned "It's like a rolling ball of snow. It gets bigger and bigger. You allow it in Massachusetts, it'll spread to God knows where."

One could have just as easily reversed the equation, to warn, "opposition to gay rights? You allow it in Massachusetts, it'll spread to God knows where". That would have proved prescient, because more U.S. states have banned same-sex marriage than have legalized it.

Back in 2005, on the principle that it's always advantageous to shoot fish in a barrel - because it's hard to miss - I set out to demonstrate that same-sex marriage would have in practical terms zero impact on marriage in Massachusetts by tracking the state divorce rate. The results were predictable.

In 2004, Massachusetts had one of the lowest divorce rates in the nation and four years later the MA divorce rate was still among the lowest of any U.S. state and other notable trends had even improved, leading me to write a sarcastically-titled story, MA Gay Marriage Brings Perilous Drop in Divorce, STD, Teen Pregnancy Rates?.

Indeed, by 2009 the Massachusetts divorce rate had dropped to roughly the point it was at in the 1940's prior to the time when the United States entered World War Two. There are some downsides, it's fair to point out - MA has some of the most restrictive divorce laws in America.

But MA also has traditionally led the nation in having some of the lowest state rates of teen pregnancy, infant mortality, and overall health ranking. Much of that, critics could argue, simply has to do with the fact that Massachusetts is a comparatively wealthy state, and wealthier American populations tend to have lower rates of teen pregnancy and infant mortality and better health.

But glancing at the maps below, which I compiled back in 2005, looking North from MA, to Vermont, we notice these trends all hold in VT - which is a much less wealthy state than Massachusetts. It's hard to escape the impression that some of this is culturally driven. Vermont, by the way, legalized civil unions between same-sex couples in 2000 and legalized gay marriage in 2009.

Wrapping up, back in 2009 I wrote,

"In a similar way, Galileo's insistence that the Earth revolved around the Sun and not vice-versa caused problems for opponents of the Heliocentric theory such as the Catholic Church. But, in time the Church learned accept the new outlook because scientific data supported it. So, perhaps there's hope that... critics of gay marriage may yet come to accept that after a half decade of legal gay marriage in Massachusetts, life continues as before."

I'm still hoping.







map key: red=higher rates, green=lower rates

Teen Births, 15-19, 2003

Infant Mortality, 2004

Overall State Health Ranking, 2004




Display:
"The thing I feared most has come upon me." There has long been a contradiction between expectations and results in many of our "religious moral stances." From the irony that the most conservative areas find the highest rates of unwed teen births, to the most religiously conservative areas having the highest divorce rates. It seems like many times we bring about the things we fear by failing to give freedom and teach responsibility at an appropriate age rather than attempting to control them externally. The pattern repeats in learning to manage money, and seems to be a national issue in our "drug wars?." Anyone want to do the research on the war on terror?

by chaplain on Thu May 10, 2012 at 08:40:37 AM EST
I think it's already been done... with similar results.

(Just don't ask me for info on the article... I get a daily "news" update on recent research and have read about so many that who, where, and all of the relevant facts have long vanished.)

by ArchaeoBob on Thu May 10, 2012 at 10:05:39 AM EST
Parent



The idea that high cultural diversity leads to prosperity... that is a very interesting concept and it does make sense.  I'm going to try to look into that further (in my discipline)... after all, our focus IS on culture.

I figure that President Obama's statement in favor of LGBT rights is a reaction to North Carolina.  It seems a lot of people don't understand the battle... and this outright ban is bringing home the fact that it's hate being sold and masqueraded as "Love" and "protection of families" (the real reason behind discrimination).   I got the immediate feeling that our President realized that he had to get off the fence because it DID suggest (according to some people) that he didn't care about non-"straight" people.

by ArchaeoBob on Thu May 10, 2012 at 10:13:26 AM EST


Canada has had same-sex marriage since about the year 2000, and our divorce rate in the year 2003 was 2.24/1,000. It hasn't risen appreciably since then, although it's too soon to tell if the recession's predictably poor effects on relationships would lead to more divorces. I haven't noticed any ill effect on our 30 year-plus marriage either. Corporations would consider how a new location for branches or factories would impact recruitment or retention of employees and executives before deciding between a variety of choices. Anywhere that would be inimical to equal marriage or non-married heterosexual couples would have a strong mark against it in the running.

by arachne646 on Sun May 13, 2012 at 06:22:24 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (4 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (6 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (0 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (6 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (7 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (21 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (5 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (8 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (3 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (5 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (3 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (2 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (7 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (2 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (3 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else © 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.