How gays & lesbians can sway rest of country on gay marriage: Wed with our wallets!

“Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.” – Mae West

Last week, many of us had reason to celebrate as the California Supreme Court ruled that the ban here on gay marriage is unconstitutional. I’ve received many emails from friends asking if we’re going to get married.

Jeanine and I have talked about this many times and always agreed that we would wait until it was recognized at the federal level. But we’ve changed our minds and we’re heading to the altar. Although it won’t be a summer wedding – we think it’s best to wait and make sure the conservatives don’t get a ballot initiative this November that would amend the state constitution.

But once it looks like it’s going to stick, then yes, we’ll be tying the knot. Here’s why others should consider joining us even if your state doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships or civil unions. It’s best articulated by Brian Richardson in The Advocate:

But why wait for justice? Those who can afford it should travel to places that fully recognize our relationships and get married already!

It’s true that nonresident marriages will not be recognized in our home states (thank you, Defense of Marriage Act), but we can still send a powerful message. Just as we often use our dollars to support gay-friendly companies like Subaru and Disney, it’s time we wed with our wallets. Take your wedding banquets to Boston or Vancouver, Canada. Honeymoon in Amsterdam or Cape Town, South Africa.

If you can afford a destination wedding, have your ceremony in the few places that fully recognize same-sex marriage — Massachusetts, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa, or Spain. By supporting communities that support us, we show other regions still hostile to marriage equality just how much they are missing out.
And in about thirty days, add California to this list. Here’s one reader that did this back in 2003 when she took her partner to Canada and got married. And why Canada?
In the summer of 2003 you could go to Vermont for a civil union, or to California to register for domestic partnership, or to Hawaii to declare your Reciprocal Beneficiary Relationship. Talk about romantic. None of these civilly unioned partnership-recognition deals came with any significant benefits that you couldn’t already arrange on your own. And those state-granted benefits did not travel beyond the states’ borders. I didn’t want a domestic partnership, civil union or reciprocal beneficent relationship.

Ontario said, “Come get married. We’d love to have you as our guest.” Yes, married, the same as everyone else. Even if the U.S. wouldn’t recognize our marriage, the fact that it was a real marriage meant something to me. I’d be happy to go to Canada to get it.
Well, the good ole’ United States of America is about to finally get it. That’s “states” and in this economy money seems to be talking. Back to The Advocate article:
New York City comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. estimates his city’s economy would gain $142 million in the first three years after implementation of same-sex marriage legislation.

Let’s take our millions up the coast to Massachusetts or across the border to Canada. Because only when state legislatures realize how much money they’re losing will they help us gain the equality we’re seeking.

Yes, mayors and legislators should support marriage equality because it’s the right thing to do. But for those who aren’t there yet, we must expand our argument beyond what is right to what is lucrative. If we wed with our wallets now, it won’t be long before businesses and politicians wake up to the economic benefits of equality. Then the real America will start to agree with Mayor Quimby [of The Simpsons] and recognize that now is the time to legalize gay money — I mean gay marriage.
Where are my gay dollars going to get spent first? Wedding rings, of course!