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Prop. 8 Trial: Gay Dollars Lost and Lawyers Play the 'Child Card'


The gay dollar was brought up at the Proposition 8 federal trial in San Francisco yesterday, and how California's same-sex marriage ban hurts the bottom line of business and government.

Pro-gay marriage marchers in Westwood in November, 2008.
Pro-gay marriage marchers in Westwood in November, 2008.
Patrick Range McDonald


This is no small thing for a state that's dealing with high unemployment and horrific budgetary problems.

According to The Advocate, the gay and lesbian news magazine, the plaintiffs' lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies, who want to overturn the same-sex marriage ban, delved into how Proposition 8 has cost San Francisco's economy millions of dollars.

The person to make that claim was the city's chief economist, Edmund Egan, who said in court that San Francisco's hotels are losing $2.6 million a year since gay couples and their friends and family aren't coming to town to get married.

In addition, The Advocate reports, "Egan testified that about 5,100 of the 18,000 same-sex couples who

married between June and November 2008 (in San Francisco) ... spent at a rate of about $21 million per year on wedding expenses,

which produced several hundreds of thousands of dollars in associated

taxes."

That's nothing to sneeze at ... especially when supporters of Prop. 8 say the ballot measure was needed to protect society.

Olson and Boies are putting forth that it's exactly the opposite -- the gay marriage ban has actually harmed the public because of such things as lost monies for businesses and local and state governments. It's another important sticking point for the plaintiffs' case.

The New Yorker staff writer Margaret Talbot also reports that the defendants' lawyers may have recently tipped their hand when it comes to their overall strategy to uphold Proposition 8.

That strategy, according to Talbot, involves a legal argument that says since straight folks can have a child, it's important for that child to have stability. So if an unwed mother suddenly becomes pregnant, she and the father can give the child instant stability through marriage. Since gay folks can't get each other pregnant by chance, the argument further goes, the right to marriage isn't all that necessary for them.

Some people may think this line of legal thinking is beyond wacky, but, Talbot writes, it helpedĀ  anti-gay marriage forces win cases in Indiana and New York.

So, once again, the anti-gay marriage folks may play the "kid card" that's worked for them in numerous political campaigns across the country and at least two court cases. At the end of the day, they say, everything boils down to the safety of the children ...

When the trial resumes today, Michael Lamb, a Cambridge University psychology professor, will testify about gay and lesbian

parenting.

Helen Zia, a lesbian writer, will discuss her experiences with discrimination and the effects of being

denied the right to marry her partner.

And M.V. Lee Badgett, a

professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, will

testify about the private harms caused by Prop. 8 and the impact of same-sex

marriage on the marriages of heterosexual couples.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.


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