Virginia’s Marriage Ban Is Bad For Everyone, Not Just Gays

mary townley and carol schall in virginiaYou can’t put a price on marriage equality, but if you could, it would be $60 million. At least, that’s how much it’s worth to the state of Virginia.

That’s according to the Williams Institute, which crunched Census data, historical marriage rates, and economic data to come up with the figure. According to their calculations, weddings would add $60 million to the state economy over the next three years. And $38 million would come in just the first year. That means at least $2.5 million in sales and local tax, which sure would come in handy. Also around 500 new jobs.

That’s assuming that half of the state’s 14,000 gay couples wed — a reasonable assumption, based on past behavior in other states.

And it could happen sooner than you think. AFER’s Virginia lawsuit is rocketing towards a ruling, following a hearing in less than a month. May 13 is the big day for oral argument, and then we’ll have a ruling not long after. And from there, it’s on to the US Supreme Court, which is going to have a very busy docket in its next session.

Meanwhile, several other states have nudged the Virginia court to rule in favor of equality. Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state and Washington DC all filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs. The NAACP also joined in, which is delightful, as has the American Psychological Association, the Episcopal Church and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

We hate to gloat, but it really must be a demoralizing time to be working for the anti-equality side. We know what it’s like to feel like the odds are stacked against you, and it’s no fun at all. If you need a hug, Brian Brown, we’re happy to give you one. Just don’t try to get rambunctious.