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I now pronounce you extravangant. You may kiss your cash goodbye.

by Jeremy Hooper

The venue. The feast. The cake. The tent deposit, just in case of rain. The custom made suit for the dog.

Yours truly is currently in the home $tretch of wedding planning. So I can tell you firsthand that if anything, this estimate is conservative:

AMHERST, Mass.—A study says the over 12,000 same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts since 2004 have pumped over $111 million into the state's economy

The report from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law says a typical same-sex couple spent about $7,400 on their wedding, with one in ten couples spending over $20,000.
Study: Gay marriages pump $111 million into Mass [AP via Boston.com]

Seriously: The leap from small, inexpensive reception to "How many zeroes is in that quote?" can be a mere jump of the broom. And it should be the local economies that benefit from this monied milestone at a time when so many could desperately use it.

6A00D8341C503453Ef011279636Df928A4.Jpg-1But of course not everyone sees fiscal positivity. In another kind of "conservative estimate," RNC head Michael Steele is now working this disgusting tactic to deny gay couples of their civil freedoms:

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) -- Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday.

Steele said that was just an example of how the party can retool its message to appeal to young voters and minorities without sacrificing core conservative principles. Steele said he used the argument weeks ago while chatting on a flight with a college student who described herself as fiscally conservative but socially liberal on issues like gay marriage.

"Now all of a sudden I've got someone who wasn't a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for," Steele told Republicans at the state convention in traditionally conservative Georgia. "So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money."
RNC chief: Gay marriage will burden small business [AP via Yahoo!]

So basically he's saying that the spouses of married heterosexuals are totally worth the benefits. But as for gay workers and their same-sex spouses? Eh, let 'em find their own coverage! Be they newly hired assistant or longtime CEO, they apparently aren't as worthy if they happen to be 'mo. That's the only -- the ONLY -- logical message one can draw form his offensive strategy.

And of course Steele, like most conservatives, would surely place this denial under the umbrella of "protecting families." Because in this game of human-hurt that they call "morality," it's not about actual families and actual protections -- it's about fostering fear in the names of party unity.

Well, Mr. Steele: You'll have to forgive this writer if I ignore your fear parade. I have my own party to unite with finalized plans, and another state's economy to stimulate in ways that my home state won't legally allow. I am far too focused on my and my fiancé's joy to allow you to denounce it with dollar signs.

The fear won't come until I see the bank statement!

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Your thoughts

In California, registered Domestic Partners are already receiving health insurance benefits. As they are in any other state that has Civil Unions or DPs. So, his lie is only minimally true. Even in states where legal same-sex unions are not available, many employers are extending benefits to those partners. Of course, we get fucked because it becomes a taxable benefit for us, where the Mormon jackass who was just hired with the 8 kids and another on the way every year gets his entire brood covered EVERYWHERE, and it is not taxable.

The fact of the matter is that Steele's argument doesn't hold much water at all, and anyone who is knowledgeable on the subject can readily refute his lies. A friendly crowd of likeminded (closedminded) republicans where collecting new soundbites reigns supreme, and skepticism is a floggable offense, is not the place to find one who is likely to mount a rational rebuttal. Neither is a college student on an airplane.

Posted by: Dick Mills | May 17, 2009 9:46:13 PM

I couldn't agree more. I'm online right now pricing $100 packages of personalized M&Ms for my sister's commitment ceremony next month....

I guess if Steele had his way there would be a "gay" or "straight" box on health care insurance applications...god forbid employers be forced to pay for health care for any gay employees...even while we are contributing to their success as employees and their bottom lines as consumers!

Posted by: Rebecca | May 17, 2009 9:55:29 PM

Yet lesbians and gays should join ex-gay ministries and get married, right? And of course, us bisexuals should always make the straight choice. I think that would be even more of a burden, using what I will generously refer to as Steele's "logic."

Our wedding cost about $12,500. Most of it went to flying several friends and relatives from New York and Florida over to Massachusetts and helping them with hotel rooms. Sure would've been nice if we could keep that money at home...or if my home state of Florida could've just gone ahead and let me have my dream wedding in the infield of the Daytona International Speedway!

Congratulations, Jeremy! Glad you can do this, and if Michael Steele thinks that's a great argument, it can only mean good things for us!

Posted by: GreenEyedLilo | May 17, 2009 10:53:51 PM

What an idiotic argument. If a gay employee were to enter a sham hetereosexual marriage, wouldn't the cost be exactly the same as it would if he entered a legally recognized gay marriage?
Jeremy: please post pictures when the big day arrives. I'm dying to see the doggy in the tux!

Posted by: Bill S | May 18, 2009 8:15:58 AM

Steele's argument is weak, and based solely in economic terms. What about the social and communal benefits of having people living together? Furthermore, if it is all about the '$$$$', the last statistics I heard stated that married couples have few health problems than their single counterparts. This means that the long terms financial benefits of having people live together are greater.

Posted by: @Daniel_Baylis | May 18, 2009 9:29:30 AM

No, no, that's fine. If that's the argument they want to use, then let them use it.

If the cost to the employer for covering someone other than the employee themselves is the deciding factor, if that bottom-line is going to be what is most important, then fine, tell him he needs to start advocating to change the rules and laws so that employers don't have to cover spouses and/or children, or ANYONE other than the employee him/herself.

Otherwise, to grant that benefit to some but not to others is unfair and hypocritical, and THAT'S the basis upon which they should be "called-out" on the argument.

Same for the issue over marriage rights itself: it's about the fairness, stupid. If you're going to grant the thousand-plus rights of civil marriage to some but not to others, based upon arguments like "Marriage needs to remain one-man and one-woman to support families, to allow children to be raised with both a mother and a father," then fine, either outlaw all single-parent households and childless couples. Otherwise, your argument doesn't hold water and you're being hypocrites to grant rights to some people but not to others.

Posted by: JWSwift | May 18, 2009 12:13:38 PM

Considering the fact that he understands the concept that changing one's sexual orientation is as easy as changing one's skin color, it amazes me that he still thinks it's perfectly fine to spew this crap.


Posted by: Bonnie_Half-Elven | May 18, 2009 12:49:52 PM

Go BONNIE.... Take a deep breath JH, it WILL all happen! Any news on weather report?

Calendar is all marked to expect pics.

Posted by: LOrion | May 18, 2009 1:35:54 PM

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