August 16, 2006

The tourism argument against the gay marriage amendment.

A new parry in the debate:
Doug Neilson... the president and chief executive officer of the Visit Milwaukee marketing group... says the homosexual community has a lot of discretionary income and loves to travel, and anything that would discourage them from coming to the state is a concern.

Wisconsin's tourism secretary, Jim Holperin, also says he believed enactment of the measure November seventh would hurt this state's reputation of being inclusive, tolerant and welcome to all.


P. Froward said...

Markets rule.

Dave said...

Of course they have money.

Because they're all like David Geffen.

Just like all Jews are like Stephen Spielberg.

Don't you see?

Between the gays and the Jews you gentiles have nothing left! I suggest you run for the (Canadian) border.

BJK said...

If homosexuals have that much disposable income, then why do they need the tax advantage that the Legislature has granted for the male-female partnership that can actually produce offspring? cuts both ways...

Elizabeth said...

BJK: that tax advantage is also given to male-female partnerships that don't produce children by choice, or that adopt children. This potentiality argument is not very persuasive.

Jim said...

Furthermore, BJK, NEED is a criterion for redistribution of wealth under communism, not capitalism.

Jim said...

I remember those glory days or the 60s and 70s, when drinking beer in Illinois was restricted to those over 21, who soon learned where Wisconsin was located and what its singular worth was!

stephenb said...

"...the homosexual community has a lot of discretionary income and loves to travel..."

Are you kidding me? Isn't this stereotyping? If I can't stereotype homosexuals, why can this guy? I don't care if he supports them.

grumpyTA said...

I'm a poor 20-something lady homo grad student. That ain't my demographic.

BJK said...

It doesn't matter whether a male-female partnership does or does not produce offspring....that it's the only partnership which can produce offspring is reason enough to support the policy. It is the capacity to produce offspring that is necessary to sustain the society.

Governments sanction sundry forms of behavior, why should male-female marriage be any different? The social benefits of a two-parent family are more than enough to classify the relationship as beneficial and worthy of government subsidy. If tax policy is the vehicle of choice for be it.

(I'd much rather subsidize marriage through a tax break than subsidize single-parent families through the welfare system....but that's a separate argument.)

I've the argument raised that homosexual couples are being disadvantaged by not recieving the tax breaks and other incentives created through the current system. My point was that there are policy reasons behind those tax advantages. I apologize if I didn't make that sufficiently clear.

Joe R. said...

Leaving aside the issue of what is and isn't a stereotype, why would you want to stereotype gays?

Finn Kristiansen said...

Someone said:
"Are you kidding me? Isn't this stereotyping? If I can't stereotype homosexuals, why can this guy? I don't care if he supports them."

Well it happens to be true. All you need do is look at the rate cards that gay publications (like Out) give to potential advertisers, and read their own assessments of the affluence of the gay community.

Frequently they will tell advertisers they need to reach this community precisely because on average, they as a subgroup do better than any other population group, financially speaking.

And Dave, your comments are slightly adrift. Nobody is asserting that all gays are super wealthy, or that there is anything to fear from that.

They are only suggesting that the homosexual community is a population with lots of disposable income, and most gay publications would second that fact. As for Jewish people, on average, they exceed other groups in income and disposable income as well, exaggerations of Geffen and Spielberg notwithstanding.

stephenb said...

Joe: Good question. Thinking about it, I guess I don't. But if this guy has the right, I want the same right...even if I don't want to exercise it.

Oh dear, did I just legitimize the homosexual marriage argument???

Dave said...

Finn my comments were meant as sarcasm.

Interpret them how you will.

boston70 said...

Not to be offensive but as a gay man who is originally from Madison, went to the UW and now lives in Boston I have to say Wisconsin is not a gay destination.
When gay people think of going on a trip Eau Claire or Milwaukee isn't a hotspot.
I hardly think this will impact Wisconsin's tourism.
Wisconsin is famous for dear hunting, lakes, fishing and a lot of straight bars with beer.

Elizabeth said...

The potential to produce children is abstract; the actuality is that some male-female and same-sex couples do have, whether by birth or adoption, children to raise, while others don't. Why base policy on the abstract rather than the actual situation? The potentiality argument is about bias, not about practical provision for societal goals.

The Drill SGT said...

A couple of questions?

1. If Homosexuality is genetic, not a choice, then wouldn't you expect gays/Lesbians to be fairly normally distributed across the population and therefore across income distributions?

2. I have heard that gays partner less permanently than heteros and Lesbians perhaps more permanently. Since establishment of partnerships among hetros is a key factor in wealth accummulation, why would gay/Lesbians have more income, unless...

3. Better educated gay/lesbians come out at a higher rate than under edcuated / poorer ones, hence an apparent higher amount of disposable income. or

4. Fewer children allow more capital formation and more freedom to spend it.

Joseph Hovsep said...

Drill Sgt:

1. If race is genetic, not a choice, then wouldn't you expect Blacks/Asians to be fairly normally distributed across the population and therefore across income distributions? (no)

2-4. Gay couples do have fewer children than straight couples and I'm sure that is a reason why some gay couples have more disposable income. But plenty of other gay couples do have children, are not highly educated, do not have lots of disposable income, do not read mainstream gay publications, etc.

The Exalted said...

not rocket science that if gays perceive a place to be intolerant, they will be less likely to travel there on holiday

i guess the arizona MLK day fiasco doesnt resonate, eh?

Bruce Hayden said...

I do agree with boston70, and I am not gay. Sorry if I offend any of the Cheeseheads in the audience, but why would gays travel to Wisc., of all places, to vacation?

Or, maybe more accurately, why should gays without children travel there to vacation?

Of course, I have a somewhat biased view of your fair state, having only visited there as a kid, or with kids, or a couple of times from the North Shore of Chicago, to, as someone above pointed out, take advantage of the lower drinking age there than in Ill.

Bruce Hayden said...

Well, I will admit to coming around on the tax issue. Why are we giving straight couples without kids a tax break?

I see a couple of interrelated issues with such a tax break. First, up until the Baby Boom generation, the traditional family had the wife at home raising the kids, and the father out working. Not all of them, but many, if not most, families were this way (my grandparents were not - both of my father's parents taught at colleges, but that was rare then in the 1930s and 1940s).

So, you have a sitution where two people are living on one income. While two people who both earn money can live together more cheaply than apart, it is also true that two people cost more than one does. So, on average, in such a family, there is less ability to pay the tax (and, thus, a tax reduction is in line with the socialist agenda of a progressive income tax).

But the time when things get really bad financially is when you have kids. If you are serious about raising them, they are far, far, more expensive than any tax breaks you get for them.

But things have changed. We now have a lot of straight couples not having kids, and some gay couples rasing such.

So, it makes little sense to me to subsidize the straight couple who are both working at the expense of the gay couple raising kids. What should be subsidized for any number of reasons is not marriage, per se, but the child rearing. At present, the straight couple, with both working (or capable of working), has the double benefit of tax subsidization plus the economic advantage that arises from two living together more cheaply than they can live apart - without losing that second income.

Joseph Hovsep said...

I agree with Bruce and boston70. I'm all for teasing out and exposing the possible negative consequences of passing constitutional amendments hostile to gays and lesbians, but I don't see (1) rich gays (of the kind the state would be worried about losing) seeking out Wisconsin as a tourist destination in substantial numbers or (2) gays who do seek out Wisconsin for vacationing deciding not to go because of the constitutional amendment. I'm a pretty political gay guy, but even I probably wouldn't avoid a state based on anti-gay laws. If I did follow such a policy, it would rule out the majority of states. I'd be more inclined to abide by a more pointed boycott of one state with real tourist destinations and unusually offensive anti-gay laws (e.g., Virginia).

MadisonMan said...

Bruce and boston70, if you had been up North in Wisconsin last week, as I was, and saw the endless forests and deep, deep blue skies, sunlight glinting off clear lakes and streams, well you'd have the same thought I did: Must. Buy. Cottage. What serenity and peace.

yetanotherjohn said...

"Doug Neilson... the president and chief executive officer of the Visit Milwaukee marketing group... says the homosexual community has a lot of discretionary income and loves to travel, and anything that would discourage them from coming to the state is a concern."

There is a sort of logic here, but its the inverse of what he says. Given that every state that such an amendment has come before the voters has overwhelmingly supported, then all of these states become "out of season" for gays to visit. They are all discouraging.

Now if he turned it around and said a vote in favor of gay marriage (as opposed to supporting the amendment prohibiting gay marriage or opposing the amendment which wouldn't allow gay marriage, it just wouldn't prohibit it) could attract gay tourists (and prusumably progressive tourists who support gay marriage and are willing to have their political causes drive their vacation choices).

Of course given the string of gay marriage votes, it may not be to far fetched to say that any non-negative news (even if it is neutral as opposed to positive news) may be enough to persuade gay tourists.

But then look at the second statement.

"Wisconsin's tourism secretary, Jim Holperin, also says he believed enactment of the measure November seventh would hurt this state's reputation of being inclusive, tolerant and welcome to all."

Notice the selective bigotry in the statement. The state's reputation to be inclusive, tolerant and welcome to all is on the line. But given that every other state who has taken up the measure has voted overwhelmingly, would this really single out Wisconsin? And taking the two statements together you see that apparently some groups are more tolerated and welcomed than others. The feelings of the majorities in the other states should not be of concern in determining welcome and tolerance. What they supported shouldn't be supported. Don't you think that will make them feel unwelcome and untolerated.

You may disagree with the voters in the other states. You may decide that your state wants to conduct a different experiment in democracy. But to say that a vote should be cast to appeal to one group but the same vote would like not appeal to a much larger group sure doesn't "tolerant and welcome to all".

And of course this is all just a feeling as no statistical evidence is available. Did Massachusets see a huge upswing in tourists? Especially controlling for other states tourism numbers after allowing gay marriage by judicial fiat, including neighboring states? Is the Wisconsin secretary of tourism so incompetent at his job that he can look at a list of states who voted on gay marriage and a list of states tourism records and compare them before advocating a vote for or against the amendment based on its impact on tourism? Perhaps these states all saw surges intheir tourism as the majority of voters who support banning gay marriages feel welcomed in those states. Perhaps the tourism aspect argues for banning gay marriage. But apparently this public official couldn't be bothered to do any work to investigate before opening his mouth to advocate against the amendment.

There are good arguments for and against banning and allowing gay marriage. But this unsubstantiated tourist angle does not seem to me to be persuasive to anyone who doesn't already think that voting no on the amendment is the right thing.

Ann Althouse said...

"dear hunting"

We do have some adorable people here.

Harkonnendog said...

I've long wished that gay marriage could be made legal in Hawaii (through the legislature, not the courts) because gay men are spenders. Lesbians, on the other hand, only seem to buy when the pretty one is being bribed out of anger by the ugly one, which is pretty rare.

I apologize for offending people with the above. Just what I've observed.

boston70 said...

I am so sorry about not spelling "deer" correct. I should know my father wears orange 10 days out of the year in Wisconsin and usually has one deer spread eagle over his truck and one deer hanging in our garage.
I guess me not spelling it correctly makes me look like a real queen...well I am.
I did go "deer hunting" with him once but ended up spinning the gun when he wasn't looking. He caught me and fortunately never took me again.
"Dear Hunting" is pretty funny though and really gay.
I also forgot to mention the fabulous all you can eat friday night fish frys(beer battered)in Wisconsin, but again, not a selling point to the gays.

Danny said...

A constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions makes a state look backwards, like Saudi Arabia or Iran. And it's been pointed out in this blog that tourism means more than straight leisure vacations. What about the continuous stream of conferences and expos? Or the touring musical and theatrical performers? The fine arts? The not so fine arts? Wisconsin is desperate to retain it's college graduates and you'd have to be tripping balls to think that the amendment wouldn't scare away our moonbat bleeding hearts and leave the state with a future-less economy.

boston70 said...

madisonman, the picture you present is inviting. Gays like serenity and peace (in small doses) but it needs to be a short driving distance to action.
I have a timeshare in Truro, Mass which is incredibly peaceful and I love it. Beautiful beaches, not congested, serene. But after a day of serenity we are in Ptown in 5 minutes for a night of dancing.
If we don't get to the action we all turn into pumpkins.