Disinformation campaign surrounds Washington State’s push to redefine marriage

Benjamin Bull

7/25/2012 2:08:00 PM - Benjamin Bull

Last week, Seattle’s Chamber of Commerce endorsed same-sex "marriage" and encouraged "yes" votes on Referendum 74, a measure which gives voters the opportunity to either uphold or reject a bill passed by the legislature and signed by the governor that legally redefined marriage in the state of Washington. And although the top 10 states for business in this country define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, the chamber claims a redefinition of marriage is good for business.

George Allen, the chamber’s vice president for government relations said, “There is a clear business case for supporting equal access to civil marriage rights.” He expounded by saying, “Marriage equality allows companies to streamline benefit administration, improves our members’ ability to recruit and retain the best talent, and helps our state’s bottom line.”

If this were true, shouldn’t states that have redefined marriage rank much higher on the list of “Top States for Business 2012” than those that haven’t?

For example, states like New York and Massachusetts—both of which have redefined marriage—rank 28 and 34 on the list, which puts them in the bottom half for business in the U.S.

And Washington comes in at 21. This means it’s currently doing far better than either New York or Massachusetts.

Yet the chamber ignores these facts and even issued a statement saying redefining marriage in Washington would “improve recruiting efforts for state businesses, which compete against companies in states like Massachusetts and New York that have extended civil marriage rights to same sex couples.”

Somewhere along the line, Washington voters are being subjected to what appears to be an old-school disinformation campaign, falsely claiming that business will improve by redefining marriage.

You can see this echoed in the Washington United for Marriage’s response to the chamber’s action: “It’s very important for people to realize that defending the new marriage law and approving Referendum 74 is not only good for all Washington families, it’s good for business, too.”

To recap: The top 10 states for business in the U.S. all define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, while two states that have redefined marriage, New York and Massachusetts, rank 28 and 34 in the country as far as business goes (Washington already surpasses them both by coming in at number 21).

Why should the citizens of Washington aspire to be less business friendly while also sacrificing the sanctity of marriage? It certainly doesn’t make economic sense.