Perhaps the most compelling conservative argument in favor of gay marriage is financial — let the gays marry and the pink dollars will come a-rollin’ in. So when bicycle theft victim and D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the city’s gay marriage bill into law, he became the golden boy of both the business and gay communities. Right? Nah, life’s not that easy.
Mayor Fenty didn’t do the heavy lifting for the gay marriage bill he famously signed into law, argues DC-based activist Lane Hudson. Fenty didn’t issue an order for D.C. to recognize out-of-state gay marriages, something within his power to do. When the City Council voted to do it three years later, Fenty, when quizzed on whether he’d fight a Congressional veto, said “it depends.” And Fenty didn’t attend a the Council’s huge hearing in support of the gay marriage bill before signing it into law. And let’s not forget his erroneously awarding a Certificate of Appreciation to ex-gay group PFOX.
For Hudson, signing the marriage bill doesn’t excuse Fenty’s absence of leadership on a whole host of other LGBT issues in the city. He slashed funding for a permanent home for DC’s LGBT Center; ignored “his No. 1 health priority” of addressing D.C.’s highest ever HIV infection rates; hasn’t addressed “the equitable treatment of transgender people in D.C. jails, the unnecessarily delayed implementation of a comprehensive anti-bullying program in schools, or the long the housing waiting list for AIDS patients.” After three and a half years in office, he hasn’t even ever held a single LGBT town hall meeting.
And even the one mark Fenty scores well on — signing his name on the marriage bill — might not have done alot for the business community either, Washington City Paper reports.
When same-sex marriage became law in March, D.C. Councilmembers hoped the change would drum up $5 million in tax revenue and 700 jobs for the District. A 2009 report from UCLA’s Williams Institute, which studies sexual-orientation law, predicted that the legalization would inspire more than 14,000 such marriages in three years, and that the price tags for those weddings—on everything from flowers to court fees—would boost the economy to the tune of $52.2 million in that time alone.
But any D.C. vendors looking to make a buck off the gay wedding boom may find it’s short-lived, adds WCP: “When same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, weddings dropped precipitously after the first year. The UCLA report predicted that the economic impact in D.C. would wane with each passing year.”
Furthermore, a good number of gay couples — who might have gotten married years ago were it legal — are opting for smaller, less lavish ceremonies, possibly a result of the recession, or possibly because they grew tired of waiting, had their big events already, and scoring legal recognition of a spouse is now just a formality.