I have always looked to comedians as disseminators of sage wisdom. I have written about both Bill Hicks and Lenny Bruce as spiritual teachers disguised as stand-up comics. So it didn't surprise me when I was up late one night, turned on the tube, and there in HD living color was a talk show host and a comedian talking about the highly charged issue of gay marriage. Out of the blue the comedian pointed out the most obvious and yet collectively overlooked epiphany. He started out with a statement that completely transcended all religious dogma and political ideology: "I appeal to your sense of greed. Gay marriage ... it simple makes good business sense."
Consider that most same sex couples do not have children to drain any trace of disposable income from their bank accounts. To quote Sam Austin, "Homosexuality is God's way of insuring that the truly gifted aren't burdened with children." In addition a majority of these relationships are two income households. How could all the florists, caterers, photographers, stretch limo drivers, high-end venues, designer label clothiers, jewelers and wedding planners have missed this one? We are talking big ticket spenders here! Remember Liza Minnelli's last wedding? $3.5 million. It was the envy of every gay couple. Just envision mini versions of this gold-splashed, fairytale, no-expense-spared wedding orgy scattered across this financially starved country. Small business owners everywhere would put on their sequined outfits and dance around the ATM machine shouting, "Fabulous! Marvelous! Work it baby, work it!"
And the lawyers, my God, how could we forget the lawyers! I'm surprised they haven't already formed their own special lobby to push gay marriages through the legislative process in record time. Look at all the money they stand to make on everything from prenuptial agreements to long, drawn out custody battles over who pays for little Merlot the Chihuahua's massages and grooming, and who gets visitation rights on holidays and weekends. The income that lawyers rake in from heterosexual marriages gone awry is immeasurable. It has evolved into a legal specialty unto itself. Why limit your clientele? Like same sex couples won't get messy divorces? When the comic on this talk show first uttered those immortal words, "Let me appeal to your greed," it should have been like a drop of blood in a shark tank to every divorce attorney in the land.
And let's not forget the fees and taxes involved here as well. Marriage license? Fifty dollars give or take. Good thing it doesn't come with an expiration date... then again, maybe not. Sales taxes would be collected first on services such as engagement parties, hotel rooms, airplane tickets, dinners, jewelry, weddings, liquor, clothes purchased and formal attire rented, and then on divorce proceedings, Vegas annulments, restraining orders, pet detectives and the list goes on. And assuming all these businesses pay their income taxes ... well, you do the math. Why, gay marriage alone could underwrite the entire healthcare program.
Ask any wedding-related business out there (and trust me there are a multitude) if they really care if their next big spending client is gay or straight, and I suspect the answer you would get most frequently would be, "As long as their credit is good, who cares?" Or, assessing the economic aspect in military terms, "Don't ask, don't tell, doesn't matter." Unfortunately, what is lost economically is only incidental to our greater loss.
Up until now, we have correlated consumers and business owners on this issue, but we have ignored the aspect of how we are all inter-related as a Nation and as a people. Whenever we make it illegal for any group of people to be treated with dignity and respect, it costs us all, everywhere, in every imaginable way. We all lose something when any one group is targeted as not worthy of receiving basic human rights. No matter what the reason, this cannot be justified. But leave it to comic and late talk show hosts to tease out the basic common denominator that hits us in our most sensitive spot -- our wallets!
The level of hypocrisy in this controversy is absolutely toxic. We trust gay people to teach our children, even adopt and raise children, perform life-saving surgeries, serve as police officers, pilot airplanes, rescue people from burning buildings and fight our wars. Yet at the same time, we deny them the simple right to legally protect their union with a loved one? We allow women, nuns, to marry "God." That is not even a marriage within the same dimension, although you could call it a match made in Heaven. At what time did we all vote on that? But we do not allow gay marriage? We pretend all people are created equally, but we do not live that self-evident truth.
There is a saying in the gay community, "Dorothy, lose the dress; keep the shoes!" I suspect there is great wisdom there when applied correctly. In the case for gay marriage, "Lose the prejudice; keep the economy." People looking to share in the equality of the American dream, while spending cold hard cash during an economic recession, seems like a no brainer. Finally, a union everyone can agree on.