Marriage Equality in Washington State
Business Talking Points
Marriage Equality Creates Economic Development
· Marriage equality would provide economic benefits to Washington State during a recession, resulting in an increase in visitors from other states who come to Washington for the purpose of marrying or attending weddings as well as a host of direct benefits to hotels and small businesses.
· In 2006, The Williams Institute at the University of California – Los Angeles estimated the impact of allowing same-sex couples to marry on Washington’s state budget. Its analysis showed:
o Allowing same-sex couples to marry will result in a net gain of approximately $3.9 million to $5.7 million each year for the state.
o Approximately 7,950 of Washington’s same-sex couples will marry in the short term.
o State expenditures on means-tested public benefits programs will fall.
o State retail sales tax revenues will rise.
o Any impact on Estate Tax revenue will be negligible.
o Administrative cost increases will be minimal.
o No increases in court system expenditures are likely to result.
o Same-sex marriage will have no impact on property tax revenue.
Marriage Equality Benefits Corporate Recruitment, Competitiveness and Morale
· Demographers have found that the new generation of highly desirable workers are likely to choose where they want to live before looking for a job, and they cite diversity and inclusion as one of the key factors in their decision.
· Marriage equality would put Washington businesses in the strongest, most competitive position to attract, recruit and retain the best and brightest employees -- and to keep high-caliber talent in the state.
· Washington employers risk losing same-sex couples and their allies to Vancouver, Boston, New York, Washington D.C. and the increasing number of jurisdictions that have adopted marriage equality.
· Worker productivity will increase, as employees will be able to focus on work rather than on concerns around discrimination and equal pay/benefits.
· Great states and cities must demonstrate a commitment to creating an open, healthy and equitable environment in which to live and work.
· Businesses would face lower recruiting costs and an expanded pool of qualified candidates if same-sex couples move to or stay in Washington as a result of marriage equality.
· Marriage equality would simplify transfers of employees to states where legal rights for same-sex couples already exist.
· Marriage equality will lead to the elimination of conflicting and burdensome regulations, as some states require benefits for same-sex couples, while others forbid them or make them difficult to obtain or administer. Marriage equality will provide the maximum flexibility for businesses to define their own benefits policies in all 50 states.
It is Consistent with Workplace Policies and Business Positions
· The vast majority (89%) of Fortune 500 businesses have workplace policies that support their gay and lesbian employees.
· 190 major businesses achieved the top score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index 2012, representing more than 9.3 million full-time employees. Many of these businesses are headquartered in or maintain offices in Washington State.
· An increasing number of companies large and small reimburse gay and lesbian employees for the taxes they pay on health insurance benefits for their spouses or domestic partners, a tax that does not apply to heterosexual married couples.
U.S. companies and corporate leaders are increasingly supporting marriage equality. Supporters include Alcoa, Google, Xerox Corporation and McGraw-Hill Companies. High-level executives are also supportive: John J. Mack, the chairman of Morgan Stanley; Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs; Jerry I. Speyer, chairman of Tishman Speyer Properties; and Paul E. Singer, a prominent hedge fund executive.
Marriage Equality Means Fairness
· Marriage equality provides a multitude of intangible benefits to Washington businesses. Recognizing the relationships of all – irrespective of sexual orientation – means an open and innovative business climate that ensures fundamental fairness and basic civil rights for all.
· As a hub of the business community, Washington has the opportunity to lead by embracing marriage equality and ensuring that employees, shareholders and consumers can live their lives to their fullest potential.