At Atticus Circle, we’re ultimately seeking equal rights for LGBT people everywhere. Yet we also find it helpful, in educating people about the need for LGBT rights, to point out the advantages for those states who stand for gay rights. In Texas, for example, we’re helping with efforts to help the state’s university systems offer competitive insurance benefits to LGBT partners of university employees. Part of the thinking there is that if Texas can’t be competitive with other states in the benefits it offers to all employees’ families, the more likely it is that talented employees will flee that university system for other systems that better serve employees’ families.
There’s some evidence of that now, forwarded along by our friends at Freedom to Marry, from the Williams Institute at UCLA. According to a just-published study, called “Marriage Equality and the Creative Class,” the state of Massachusetts has seen significant gains in its five years of allowing same-sex marriage. The study describes:
“clear economic gains for Massachusetts that have resulted from marriage equality. Massachusetts gained a competitive edge in attracting young, highly educated ‘creative class’ professionals who are in same-sex couples, according to one study. The second study confirms that the weddings of same-sex couples have given a significant boost to the state’s economy.”
The figure, according to the article, is in the neighborhood of $100 million.
So while we’d like for all states to eventually be equal in its acceptance of same-sex marriages and LGBT couples, states in the Northeast, in following Massachusetts’s lead on same-sex marriage policy, are certainly setting themselves up to do the smart thing as well as the right thing.