Column: It's The Economy, Stupid

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This is a great country. From the time you are a toddler they tell you that you “can be anything you want to be” regardless. And it is true. After all, George W. Bush became president and Vanna White has been turning letters on Wheel of Fortune since 1982. I guess Ms. Pam Bondi’s dream was to become Florida Attorney General regardless of her IQ and her haphazard interpretation of the law or the incoherence of her dumb decisions.

The same-sex marriage train has left the station, and the 48-year-old twice-divorced Ms. Bondi is firmly stuck on the platform. She has made it a personal political crusade to oppose the recent rulings despite the facts, one after the other, unanimously say that denying gays the right to marry is unconstitutional.

All of the arguments brought forward by the troglodytes opposing gay marriage have been debunked long ago. Even the last Florida ruling by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel opened with the Declaration of Independence: “In 1776, our Nation’s Founders went to war in pursuit of a then novel , yet noble, goal: the creation of a Government that recognizes its people are : Endowed…with certain inalienable rights and that all are equal in the eyes of the law”.

The Crazy Christers and their right wing Republican friends continue to recycle the same blatherskite.

They still focus on “tradition” even though preserving tradition for its own sake is a circular proposition.

The truth is that from the dawn of ancient history, a man married a woman out of desire …—for her father’s land or livestock. Marriage was a business arrangement, the bride a commodity, her dowry a deal sweetener. And the groom was likely to be an unwitting pawn in an economic alliance between two clans or tribes, and often between Royal Houses. A church might or might not have been involved. Blissfully Government was out of the loop. There was no paper work, no divorce and – more often than not… no love. Also the argument that marriage is for “procreation” does not hold water. Marriage has never been preconditioned on one’s ability to bear children. Having children is not mandatory.

In the meantime Ms. Bondi, and many like her across our nation, continues to spend loads of taxpayer money fighting a lost cause instead of seeing the financial economic bonanza gay marriages would bring to each of their own states. She simply doesn’t care or realize how dire our economic and fiscal straits truly are. And how every little bit helps. Maybe she did not read the memo. Businesses trying to shrug off hard times are waking up to the vast potential of the new and burgeoning market for same-sex weddings and honeymoons as more states and countries allow gay marriage. Industry experts warn that any businesses eyeing the pink dollar need to be welcoming to gays while also avoiding the clichés associated with the community if they want to be taken seriously. Polls saythey areready to “roll out the rainbow carpet” to gay couples getting married in Florida. Vendors and the service industry are becoming painfully aware they’re missing out on this.

In the first year after New York City legalized same-sex marriages, for example, it reaped $260 million in economic impact, according to a survey by NYC & Co, the city’s tourism marketing firm. Almost 9000 gay-marriage licenses have been issued in that period and many to out-of-state couples. Similar numbers have been reported by all the states where same-sex marriages have been made legal. Here in Florida the Greater Ft. Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has been targeting gay and lesbian tourists for the last 18 years and is exploring ways to promote same-sex weddings with the expectation gay marriage is legalized soon. Many hotels already have gay-wedding certified specialists in house to cater to the needs of same-sex couples. 2013 saw a record breaking 1.3 million LGBT tourists in Broward County. Many more would be expected to visit if the ban is lifted state-wise. Ms. Bondi should stop fighting her own frivolous battle. The time has come for her to step down, resign, get out of the way and allow someone else to represent the interests of the State, of the business community and LGBT people at large.


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