Tuesday, April 16, 2013

NOM's Roback Morse completely adrift on the economics of marriage equality


One can only imagine how and where National Organization for Marriage found Jennifer Roback Morse. Presumably, her primary attraction is that she is a Catholic zealot. For that reason alone Morse attempts to prove, in this video, that marriage equality will not result in substantial increases in spending and tax revenues for the state of Illinois.

The first mistake that Morse makes is the presumption of a zero sum economic model. In other words, money spent on same-sex marriages is money that will not be spent on other things.

Morse's second theory is that the only potential out-of-state revenues generated by marriage equality come from what she calls "marriage tourism" while claiming that these people could just as easily marry in other equal marriage states.

In point of fact, marriage is something that people save up for or borrow for. This is not necessarily money that would be spent elsewhere. Furthermore, marriage celebrations are often paid for, in whole or part, by relatives of the betrothed. Some of these relatives are likely to be from out-of-state. To the extent that this assistance is coming from relatives in state, their contributions are likely coming from savings; money that is not going into the economy and money that is not creating tax revenues.

With respect to marriage tourism, there will be some. People might choose Illinois for any number of reasons including proximity and family connections.

However, what Morse completely overlooks is the fact that marriages of Illinois citizens in Illinois will often result in friends and family visiting from outside Illinois. They will stay in Illinois hotels, eat in Illinois restaurants and shop at Illinois stores.

I have no idea how accurate, or inaccurate, the Williams Institute projections are. They rely on an average number of same-sex marriages over time which means that the data is not yet fully developed. Their accuracy is irrelevant to the very reliable claim that marriage equality puts new money into the economy and creates tax revenues.

In addition to the hospitality industry, there are jewelers, florists, invitation printers, lawyers, taxi drivers and others. Therefore, marriage equality also creates tax revenues.

Neither the obvious nor logical conclusions benefit the case for marriage discrimination that National Organization for Marriage is intent on imposing upon everyone else. Morse making it up as she goes along tells us just how much contempt she has for NOM's own constituency. She is obviously committed to the concept that they will believe whatever they are told. Come to think of it, that has been NOM's strategy for six years. Perhaps that answers my first question pertaining to how and why NOM hired Sister Jennifer in the first place.
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