Remember when African Americans couldn't drink from the same drinking fountains as whites? Remember when gay people couldn't get married? Both scenarios sound so ridiculous.
Especially when you think about how much money is to be gained if same-sex couples are legally allowed to get married. Just look at the figures broken down by Conde Nast Portfolio.com:
The Williams Institute at the U.C.L.A. School of Law thinks same-sex marriage should generate 2,200 jobs in California, bring in $8 million in marriage-license fees, and increase sales and occupancy tax revenues by $55 million. A 2005 study showed that if same-sex marriage was legalized nationally, the wedding industry could generate another $2 billion annually.
Robert Longley did the research for About.com and found, "Based on the responses to Census 2000, [the U.S. Congressional Budget Office] estimated that nearly 600,000 same-sex couples nationwide would get married if they had the opportunity, and that those 600,000 newly married couples would pay up to an additional $700 million a year, mainly in income and estate taxes.
And U.S. News says the wedding industry stands to gain $16 billion annually if same-sex marriages are legalized across the union.
Wowzers! Sign them up! Given that California is about to break off into the Pacific Ocean from the sheer size of its budget crisis, it makes fiscal sense to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. Literally overnight wedding businesses would enjoy a major boost. When times are this bad, don't you just want to celebrate? If gay marriage were legalized, I would fly over to California so fast and see how many weddings I could crash in a week, until I forgot the name Bernie Madoff. Let the good times roll!
But then you got this guy named Ken Starr who cost taxpayers $70 million investigating the Clintons back in the nineties. And his great discovery? Well, it's not appropriate to mention here but better men have paid less for one. Well, Starr's back; I guess he got sick of living the life of a professor and wants the limelight again.
If anyone is coasting through this economic meltdown, it's Starr. The Arizona state legislature is paying him nearly half a million dollars to fight a lower court's ruling that the state needs to improve funding for English language programs.
Starr is also in the business of divorcing happily married couples. He's working with the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund and seeking to nullify the marriages of 18,000 people who wed before Prop 8 passed in November. (Prop 8 wrote into the state's constitution that marriage is between a man and a woman and was campaigned for/against heatedly and expensively by both sides last year).
So, if Kenneth Starr is successful, he stands to cost California taxpayers $63 million, combine that with the $70 million in public funding he already spent investigating the Clintons, and we're looking at Starr's career costing taxpayers $133 million. That's one expensive famous person.
Starr takes his case to the Supreme Court on March 5 and a decision is expected in 90 days.
This post originally appeared on WalletPop.com.