One of the arguments being used by anti-marriage equality forces is the argument that we need to fix the economy first before we can focus on marriage. It’s a classic false dichotomy, and one marriage equality advocates have responded to by pointing out the economic benefits of allowing same-sex couples to marry. But this type of rhetoric is always bad.
Yes, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees do have other matters to consider. However, very few of those matters pertain to the economy and instead are all about law and justice. So marriage equality falls right under what they should be looking at.
The argument is basically positing that marriage equality legislation is a distraction from examining our economy. But if that was the case, where were the people who were so concerned about the economy that no other bills can be passed when Voter ID was enacted? Where were they when the General Assembly issued numerous commemorative license plates? Why didn’t they oppose Frank’s Law? Why didn’t they protest every other non-economic bill that made it through the General Assembly since Fall 2008?
The truth is that though the General Assembly only has finite time to pass and debate legislation, they’re not people who can’t pass more than one piece of legislation at a time. Contrary to our worst pessimists’ opinions, General Assembly members can, in fact, chew gum and walk at the same time. Marriage equality will take exactly as long to pass as its opponents want it to. If they feel it’s necessary to make it a distraction from economic issues, they’re the ones who will be responsible for doing so. The House speedily passed their bill and then moved on to other matters, like the economy.
Government doesn’t grind to a halt merely because the economy is bad. Economies are fickle things, complex problems that require study and thought. People spend whole lives trying to figure out how to solve economic problems and then die, and they’re still wrong! Comparatively, marriage equality is a no-brainer. It’s an easy question to answer. Do you believe that two people, regardless of their genders, should be able to have their love recognized by this state? That’s it. It takes less than a second to answer. And then you vote.