Activists use a number of arguments in support of the homosexual political agenda (that is, the push for things like a redefinition of marriage to include homosexual couples, or the inclusion of “sexual orientation” as a protected category in civil rights laws). One of the more ridiculous arguments is the claim that such measures would actually improve the economy of a state.
I was in Indiana earlier this year when that state’s legislature was debating a state constitutional amendment, like those already adopted in thirty other states, to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Homosexual activists (and their fellow travelers in some large corporations) asserted that preserving the existing definition of marriage would make it hard to recruit employees. (Legislators ended up trying to have it both ways — passing an amendment but watering it down in a way that prevented it from going to voters for approval this year.)
Then just last week, a group calling itself “Business Leaders for Michigan” endorsed a statewide homosexual rights bill, declaring as part of its “Michigan Turnaround Plan” that the state should “prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation for employment just like we do for race, color, religion, sex, national origin or disability,” in order to “make Michigan an aspirational destination by being a welcoming place to all.”
Fortunately, these claims readily lend themselves to empirical evaluation. The website of Business Leaders for Michigan says right at the top that the group is “dedicated to making Michigan a ‘Top Ten’ state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy.” When interviewed on a local NPR station, Doug Rothwell, the group’s President and CEO, added another goal, declaring, “We want to make sure that we can grow our population. Population growth strongly correlates to economic growth.”
So, you want to be a “Top Ten” state in “jobs,” “personal income,” and “population growth?” Well, it’s easy enough to find data on which states are currently in the “Top Ten” in those areas. Then we can see if there is a correlation between that status and the presence of homosexual rights laws or same-sex “marriage” (or actions to prevent it).
In the following lists, a state which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (as is being proposed in Michigan) is marked with an asterisk (*). A state which issues civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples is in italics. A state whose voters have amended their state constitution to protect the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, on the other hand (as is being proposed in Indiana) appears in bold.
Here is a list of the “10 States With [the] Biggest Rate of Job Growth in 2013,” as projected by Kiplinger in March of 2013:
4. South Carolina
9. North Carolina
Here is a list of the “Top 10 fastest-growing states” in population, as compiled by CBS MoneyWatch on January 18, 2014:
1. North Dakota
6. South Dakota
10. South Carolina
Finally, here is a list of the top ten states in personal income growth from 2012 to 2013, as reported by the Department of Commerce on March 25, 2014:
1. North Dakota
Nationwide, there are 21 states (42% of the fifty states) which treat “sexual orientation” as a protected category in civil rights laws. Among the fastest growing states in job growth, only three (30%) have such laws; among the fastest growing in population, only three (30% have such laws); and among the fastest growing in personal income, only four (40%) have such laws. Combining these lists, 17 states appear at least once; of these, only six (35%) have protected “sexual orientation.” There is simply no strong correlation between the existence of such laws and economic growth — if anything, the fast-growing states are slightly less likely to have embraced special employment protections for homosexuals.
On the marriage issue, the results are more clear-cut — and show the opposite of what the homosexual activists claim. Nationwide, there are 31 states (62% of the fifty states) where voters have amended their state constitutions to prevent the redefinition of marriage. In all but one of those, the amendment fixed the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. (In Hawaii, the amendment reserved to the legislature the power to define marriage, taking the issue out of the hands of judges, but the legislature recently voted to allow “marriages” of same-sex couples.) There are 17 states (34%) that have redefined “marriage” to authorize the issuance of civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
But when it comes to the top states in job growth, all ten are states where voters adopted marriage amendments of some type; in only one (10%) are marriage licenses issued to homosexual couples (see note on Hawaii above). Among the top states in population growth, nine (90%) have marriage amendments, while only one (Washington) has redefined marriage. Finally, among the top states in personal income growth, only two (Washington and Iowa) allow same-sex “marriages,” while the other eight (80%) all have marriage amendments. (Iowa never adopted a marriage amendment, but its voters did remove from office three of the state Supreme Court justices who redefined marriage in a court decision). In total only three of the seventeen states on any of these lists (18%) has same-sex “marriage,” while voters in fifteen (88%) took some action to prevent the redefining of marriage. If anything, there appears to be a fairly significant correlation between economic growth and the defense of the natural, one-man-one-woman definition of marriage — not the abandonment of that definition.
It’s time to drop the nonsense about the homosexual agenda promoting economic growth once and for all.
Peter S. Sprigg is Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. Mr. Sprigg joined FRC in 2001, and his research and writing have addressed issues of marriage and family, human sexuality, the arts and entertainment, and religion in public life.
First published at FRCBlog.com