Friday Forum: Can Gay Rights Save the Economy?

It’s that time of the week, when Queerty takes a break from the opinion-making and puts you, the readers, in charge. Each Friday, we invite you to be the pundit on a hot-button question facing the LGBT community and its allies. As always, we expect people to be respectful and considerate of others by refraining from personal attacks. We present the information, you make the decision.

gay-721618It’s the new line from Republicans across the country: “How can we possibly move on gay rights when the economy is in trouble?” Conservative groups have now latched onto the economy as a reason why lawmakers should not act on gay marriage bills across the states. A National Organization for Marriage Rhode Island radio ad tells listeners:

“These are the same legislatures who don’t have time to balance our budget, to restrain out-of-control spending, or come to some kind of agreement on immigration, but they have time to mess with gay marriage?”

And a Focus on the Family spokesperson has been quoted as saying:

“Our country is in a period of economic uncertainty, and people should contact their state legislators and urge them to promote family and societal stability.”

Yet a number of studies have shown that gay marriage would boost the economy. The Congressional General Accounting Office suggests that if gay marriage were enacted in all 50 states, it would be a billion dollar industry and a new report out from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, titled The Economic Impact of Extending Marriage to Same-Sex Couples in Maine, finds that in three years, gay marriage would bring $60 million to the economy of the state and another $3.1 million in local funds and tax revenues.

Perhaps the question to ask this week is not if gay rights should take a backseat to the economy (though feel free to debate that issue), but rather, is there an opportunity to make an economic argument for gay marriage? If you can’t win them through their conscience, why not woo their wallet?

We submit to you? Should we make the economic case for gay marriage? And if so, how?