Friday, January 8th, 2010

Here Is What Needs To Happen For Gay Marriage To Pass

Yesterday's defeat of a gay marriage bill in the New Jersey Senate is just one more disappointment in a string of bitter losses for those who seek equal justice under the law. Sure, other countries don't seem to have a problem making fairness legal, but here at home, at the state level, we have apparently decided that we're not going to play along. Many of the objections you hear center around religion, but the sorry undercurrent behind the unwillingness to grant the same rights to homosexuals that their fellow citizens already enjoy and frequently abuse is actually one concerning politics and economics, i.e., in These Troubled Times legislators are not willing to take a chance on equality while their constituents are more concerned about jobs and wages. Basically, gays are screwed until the economy picks up again and we all feel so prosperous that we don't care whether or not two committed partners who happen to be of the same gender want the same benefits as everyone else. It's unfortunate, but that's the way it is. So let's set some benchmarks!

I spoke with Reuters finance blogger Felix Salmon and asked him what economic indicators we should be looking at to determine the point at which we'll be so caught up in the next boom that we'll be ready to let gays marry. He suggested the following data points:

Unemployment: Unemployment is now at 10.2%. It was 5% back in November '07, when this recession started. My personal feeling is that the number would have to drop down below 5% again before gay marriage gets another shot, but Salmon suggests that it would be better to focus on the NAIRU number, "the rate of unemployment below which inflation starts kicking in – or, to put it another way, the level of unemployment which the Fed should consider to constitute 'full employment'." Salmon believes the Fed won't let unemployment go below 5%, because that would be too inflationary. He suggests 7% as an acceptable figure. I'm going to split the difference and call it 6%.

Dow Jones: Salmon thinks the Dow is already in vaguely "recovered" territory, but he's a lot closer to the numbers than the rest of us, so I think we need something that seems a little more robust than the current 10.5k. I'm gonna say the Dow will need to be no lower than 12k for a sustained period of time.

Federal Budget Deficit: Salmon thinks we'll need to see a government deficit that is less than 3% of GDP. I've spent the last half hour poring over CBO estimates for the next ten years, and, let me tell you, I have NO IDEA what they mean. So we're gonna go with Salmon on this one.

And there you have it, gays! Write these figures down and stick 'em on your wall: Unemployment below 6%, Dow at 12000, and deficit less than 3% of GDP. When all of these numbers come up, so has yours! Time to call your legislators. Until then, sit back and enjoy the watered-down palliative that is "civil commitment." See ya when everything's good again.

27 Comments / Post A Comment

myfanwy (#1,124)

Legalizing gay marriage would certainly revitalize the wedding-related bits of the economy. This seems like a no-brainer, to me anyways.

HiredGoons (#603)

Not to mention our baking infrastructure.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

Rich People Things: Gay Marriage?

HiredGoons (#603)

Things White People Don't Like.

mathnet (#27)

Create a bunch of jobs, Gays, that's all! Everybody will be all THANKS! HERE! GET MARRIED!

tanene (#501)

But we would! Or, we would have brought $200 million to Jersey over the next three years, were they not haters. Love me some Williams Institute research:

Abe Sauer (#148)

It's assumed then that these are the numbers needed to, you know, maybe get gays basic human employment/housing discrimination protections in the dozens of states where they do not yet even have that??? Because back when these numbers existed those states still coud not pass such laws.

Could it be that the higher numbers we need have to do more with deaths (of older generations) and only maybe partially the money stuff?

Peter Feld (#79)

It's an overlay of both trends: demographics making the electorate more liberal, combined with a favorable economic climate. Eventually demographics would carry the day but a good economy would provide the jolt to get things going a little quicker. It would also encourage certain elected leaders to act a little more boldly.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Yes but I think it's the demo trend more than the $. When we HAD very favorable economic conditions what we saw in many states was even more aggressive anti-gay measures on the ballot/passed. Good economics certainly cannot hurt but there is a segment of the population right now that in te last decade has clearly demonstrated that they favor voting on their so-called religious principles at the cost of their own economic situations.

myfanwy (#1,124)

Nate Silver predicted when each state was likely to legalize same-sex marriage, based on the percentages of people who identified religion as important, as well as the amount of evangelicals in the state. Map based on analysis. (apologies if you've seen this already, in a servicey mood this morning.)

ohhleary (#846)

Thank God, I'm glad someone else is saying it.

Gay marriage should take a backseat to granting people basic discrimination protections that a great majority of even conservatives agree gays should have.

As long as gay marriage remains the top priority of gay activists, discrimination laws in other states won't pass, because conservatives will argue that it's a backdoor method of legalizing gay marriage.

Rod T (#33)

Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

You see, the organizations like NOM profiteer off of the hate of their contributors. Their contributions go up when the economy is good and Maggie Gallagher of NOM gets to keep her home in Westchester and office in Soho. Bad economic times mean fewer contributions and thus fewer paid resources.

Homos on the other hand get really busy when the economy is good, cutting hair and making floral and arrangements and decorating homes for wealthy straights. They then use this money for vacations on Fire Island. In bad economic times they don't have as much work and can't afford their vacations so they become more politically active That's why after years of economic complacency, suddenly homos are showing up to rallies and such.

So for gay marriage to pass, we basically need a double dip on this recession. Claro como Charo, verdade?

josh_speed (#97)

Ooh! Point-counterpoint. And both yours and Mr. Balk's points are, after a surface reading, plausible! Bring on the debating society, foreals. This is getting good.

lawyergay (#220)

Yes. Exactly right.

And the bottom line, of course, is that there is always a rationale for fair-weather allies like Obama, who greedily lapped up homobucks during his campaign but has sat on his hands while in office, to say "Now's not the right time."

MatthewGallaway (#1,239)

Sarah P___ is going to make all of this state nonsense go away when she (as U.S. President) and her Republican controlled House and Senate enact a federal marriage law in 2013 (just three short years from now!) allowing any two people to marry.

Matt (#26)

But I thought they believed in STATES' RIGHTS (TRADE-MARK RONALD REAGAN)?

mike d (#61)

Well, if it's any consolation, these are the same numbers Obama's aiming for to get reelected in 2012, so hopefully we're only two years away.

David (#192)

And there there is the new trial on this matter in California that will be broadcast …

HiredGoons (#603)

The salt in this wound is that it's New Jersey.

Gays can get married in Iowa, but not Jersey. Or New York. Or California. I realize this is not a news flash, but it still blows my mind. The more I say it, the less it makes sense. Fork.

HiredGoons (#603)

Fork that. Fork it in the rear.

iplaudius (#1,066)

I thought we were basically waiting around for some people to die, others to get older.

hockeymom (#143)

But if the gays get married, that means I have to get divorced and marry a gecko. Right?

I believe it's a lemur?

HiredGoons (#603)

You just have to change your insurance to Geico. CRAZAZY!

riotnrrd (#840)

A legislative solution to gay marriage ain't gonna happen. The U.S. has a long and shameful history of not granting rights to minorities until the courts force them to (see civil rights, women's vote in some states, etc.) It will literally take a supreme court case to decide and I'm afraid that with the current reactionary rightward-leaning make-up of the court (die screaming in a pit, Scalia), that's not going to happen for a long time either.

paperbackwriter (#2,844)

Every married person I know is unspeakably gay.

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