Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Marrying for Money...With a New Twist

Mike Huckabee instigated the latest dialogue on same sex marriage by absurdly likening its legalization as tantamount to accommodating the less than "ideal" behavioral patterns of incest, polygamy and drugs. President Obama countered by ordering the Department of Health and Human Services to prohibit discrimination in hospital visitation rights, situating the battlefield squarely in the medical realm. Hugs and Drugs.
DRUGS. But wait a minute. Isn't California seriously contemplating "permissible pot?" And what about tobacco and alcohol, if nothing else, legitimized drugging with whole industries and regional economies built around and dependent upon their current or previous socially acceptability and/or addictive properties? And then there's pharmaceuticals, since the 1980s, the centerpiece of the health care industry and any applicable legislation. Please!!! Just like Miss America, the standard for "ideal" has morphed over time. Mr. Huckabee needs to evolve.
Which brings me to the best argument for gay marriage - and the predominant one for legalizing marijuana in California - economics. While heretofore the financial focus has always been on the impact on the "couple" - benes, rights, all things legal - the spotlight should be on the effect on the general economy, because, put simply, weddings are an industry and increased participation would be excellent for the national bottom line. It is estimated that 2.5 million ceremonies are performed in the US annually, with roughly 40 billion spent yearly, an average of $16,000 per event (Wikipedia). From the local government take for licenses, to the caterer and the florist, the more that participate, the merrier the numbers. Depending on whose statistics you cite, gays and lesbians make up anywhere from around 1% (2000 US Census) to 10% (Kinsey) of the population, with same sex couples in increased concentration on both coasts and in Colorado (AmericanThinker.com, 2/5/10). It makes no "cents" to exclude them from wedded bliss....or divorce.
With a heterosexual split rate hovering around 50%, there are a host of participants associated with the downside of legalized relationships primed to accept that extra business. And these are essentially local jobs to be patronized and/or created, most of which cannot be outsourced, because despite the rise in DIY divorce, domestic relations affairs seem to compel the need for the personal, handholding touch. And why shouldn't homosexuals experience what it feels like to be bound when love goes south - the uncivil union followed by the unamicable divorce- and have the right to be as miserable as the rest of us who cannot easily walk away.
So to get fiscal conservatives on board, the argument should be "marrying for money," that time old concept with a new twist. California might want to reconsider and find it more lucrative than legalizing pot.

Karen Ann DeLuca