The Conservative Conundrum: Does anti-gay bigotry trump negative economic impact?

Which of these images really matters most to conservatives? Because their policies are at odds with themselves

holding handsConservatives have been beating the dual drumbeat of “family values” (i.e., hate-based bigotry) and “fiscal responsibility” (i.e., cutting taxes on the rich and denying services to the poor). But what if these policies were verifiably at odds with each other? What if being anti-marriage-equality was also anti-growth?

Well that’s just what the consulting firm Oliver Wyman has figured out.

In a report released last month called The Cost of Inconsistency: Quantifying the Economic Burden to American Business from the Patchwork Quilt of Marriage Laws, the authors arrived at some staggering conclusions. Among them: Every day of marriage inequality across the nation costs the private sector at least $3.5 million (the annual cost would pay the salaries of 19,000 workers); same-sex couples pay more in taxes than similarly-situated opposite-sex couples, and states without marriage equality bear the brunt of this burden (what about cutting taxes as a tenet of conservatism?); the five-year savings since the overturning of DOMA is estimated at $3.3 billion … but if marriage laws were uniform nationwide, it would amount to $9.7 billion.

So the question is: With marriage equality having such a profound fiscal impact, why resist it?

They might argue that inconsistency is the problem … so what we need is a nationwide ban on same-sex marriage. Of course, that’s idiotic, since they fought like dogs to let each state decide, and many states (and the Supreme Court more or less) have decided already that same-sex marriage is a right. If even one (not to mention 30-something) state finds the right, then the others much follow suit, not go regressive.

For the Huckabees and Santorums and Perrys still not convinced, the report offered this quote from an Ohio small businessman. He said:

“We are a fast-growing tech business committed to building our business in Cleveland. It’s been hard enough to compete with New York, Chicago, or D.C. for talent, but now we are at a further disadvantage because Ohio doesn’t recognize the legal marriages of same-sex couples. I know of cases where corporations want key employees to transfer to Ohio but they refuse because our state doesn’t recognize their marriage. This puts Ohio business at a disadvantage in the fight for recruiting talent.”

Talent, GOPers. You want to encourage talent. Entrepreneurialship. Fairness. Equality is a tide that lifts all boats. If you weren’t so busy pandering to the Religious Right in this country because you’re terrified they won’t be terrified, you’d already have done the right thing. Which, as it turns out, is also the “Right” thing.

You can read (or download) the full report here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Out & Equal to hold 2011 convention in Dallas

Out & Equal, the national organization that champions safe and equitable workplaces for LGBT people, will hold its annual convention at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas in 2011, according to an e-mail we received Tuesday from the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“I am happy to officially announce that the contract is in and it’s official. Dallas will be hosting one of the largest GLBT conventions in the country and one of the first in Dallas!!!” wrote Veronica L. Torres, directory of diversity & community relations at the CVB. ”This convention will bring over 8 MILLION dollars in economic impact to Dallas!!! This is INCREDIBLE! We are so excited to see all of our community come together to make this happen. This convention will continue to build a platform for Dallas to stand on and show that we ARE a great city for GLBT business and conventions with a strong community to support it!!!”

According to Out & Equal’s website, the annual convention “boasts more than 2,300 attendees who participate in over 125 workshops and caucuses all designed to create an inclusive workplace. The abundance of activities and nationally celebrated keynote speakers result in an experience that has been described as ‘an enlightening watershed of information.’”

This year’s Out & Equal convention, known as the Workplace Summit, will be held in Los Angeles in October.

—  John Wright