Every morning when I wake up, I wake up to one of the local radio stations. It’s more pleasant than an annoying buzz, and since I set it quite a bit earlier than when I want to wake up, it helps me to slowly come around into the world. Last week, I woke up to an anti-R71 ad. If you want to hear it, it’s available at the SLOG, along with an actual takedown of the claims.
If you don’t want to listen to it, the ad says:
“Thousands of people are out of work, others are losing their homes, schools are not properly funded, but legislators spend time passing a so-called everything but marriage bill,” says one of the women.
“Okay,” the other woman replies, “you want state legislators to solve the real problems that affect our state, not to change the definition of marriage?”
“The bill they passed expands the rights of same-sex partners to be equal to married couples,” says the first woman. “How does that help people who are losing their home?”
As the SLOG points out, the Washington State Legislature did actually address all those concerns — but there’re a few other things I’d like to address. First off is, well, I didn’t know that passing laws was a zero-sum game. To pass a law on gay marriage, you have to reject a housing bill. To pass an environmental law, you’ve got to defund prisons. Apparently, we can only have N number of laws, and a new one pushes an old one out. While, I admit, that might make for an interesting game of Nomic, it’s not how the real legislature works. Yes, there is a finite amount of time to discuss and vote on bills — however, there is no reason why, in this case, the Legislature can’t grant gays the right to civil unions, fund schools, work to create jobs and help the housing crisis. And, again, as the SLOG points out, they DID.
But even if you accept the argument that approving gay marriage took important time from other, more important issues, it’s still not a good argument. After all — by petitioning and voting on it, aren’t we taking up MORE time that could be used on other issues? After all — this is an apparently trivial issue, particularly compared to schools/housing/jobs/etc, so why waste more time on it? Wouldn’t it be better to just shake your head, go “That stupid legislature” and later work to vote the folks out of office at the next election?
But the problem is, it’s NOT actually about this, of course. Anti-R-71 campaigners don’t actually agree with this — if they did, they’d have a better argument when pointed to the facts.
And the ironic thing? Gay marriage would help create jobs — according to the Christian Science Monitor if gay marriage were legalized in all 50 states, the wedding industry would grow by $16 billion — and that’s just the private sector. That’s not including all the money from the licenses themselves (which goes to the state), as well as higher-on-average income taxes for married couples… and, something which should please fiscal conservatives, marriage decreases costs for state benefit programs.
So, we’ve got jobs with the jolt to the economy — and schools with increased taxes (schools are often paid for with property taxes; if couples have more income due to both parties working as is often the norm in homosexual relationships — they can buy better houses… which mean higher property taxes). That only leaves housing — I suppose an argument could be made with an increase in co-habitation would put more houses on the market driving prices down… but even I think that’s kind of a lame argument. (After all, folks live together, both gay and straight, without being married.) So, I’ll give ’em that one. Still, two outta three ain’t bad.