Boehner Kills Jobs, Focuses on Abortion But Chides Obama for Ignoring Jobs with ‘Divisive’ DOMA Shift

Wrong Again, Mr. Speaker: Gay Marriage Creates Jobs, Small-Business Income and Tax Revenue

When the Obama administration announced this week that the Executive Branch would no longer defend the so-called Defense of Marriage Act at trial, they effectively lobbed the ball into Speaker John Boehner’s court. It will be up to the Legislative Branch, which is to say Boehner and his tea party bosses in Congress, to defend the act in upcoming trials.

Boehner’s only accomplishment is a budget bill that would kill hundreds of thousands of jobs and hobble gross domestic spending by 2 percent.

It refreshing to see the White House playing hardball with the speaker. In offloading to Boehner the responsibility for defending DOMA — which is unconstitutional on its face — the administration has unilaterally forced Republicans to shift from arguing their case against gay marriage from the court of public opinion, via their in-house media outlets on Fox and AM radio, into the court of law, where their illogical, Bible-based rationales are immaterial as testimony:

The defenders of California’s Proposition 8, who rushed in when that state’s governor and attorney general refused the job, learned this lesson in a federal case last year, when their arguments and witnesses were utterly dismantled by the all-star legal team of David Boies and Ted Olson.

When gay marriage foes set out to make their case in that trial, they presented six supposed experts to testify about the harm same sex marriage would cause. But by the time Boies finished taking their depositions, four of the witnesses had withdrawn. (Two of them gave such damaging testimony that Boies and Olson used it at trial against them anyway.) One of the remaining “experts” was ultimately disqualified by Judge Vaughn Walker under the federal rules of evidence and the other was “entitled to little weight,” the judge stated.

In the end, the opponents of same sex marriage were reduced to a perfectly circular argument that would not survive a freshman philosophy class, much less law school. They asserted that the meaning of marriage was a union between opposite sexes, then concluded that allowing any other union would destroy the meaning of marriage as they had just defined it. They were forced to employ such twisted logic because there is no empirical evidence to support the exclusion of gays from marriage; the prohibition is the last vestige of the religious belief that homosexuality is sinful, a rare application of the language of the Old Testament to otherwise victimless behavior in a secular society. (One of the hardest things about talking to God is finding an expert to give a proper deposition.)

There’s been talk lately about how bad Speaker Boehner is at his job. His office certainly reinforced that perception with this statement in reaction to the president’s shift on DOMA:

“While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the President will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation.”

Americans may be focusing on “creating jobs,” but Speaker Boehner and the tea party are not. In the seven weeks and three days since they took control of the House, they have not proposed, debated or, certainly, passed legislation that would create a single job. In fact, other than focusing on outlawing abortion — an issue that truly “sharply divides the nation” — the tea party’s signature accomplishment is a budget bill that would actually kill hundreds of thousands of jobs and hobble gross domestic spending by 2 percent.

Beyond that, Boehner’s implication that there is no connection between gay marriage and creating jobs is simply wrong. The fact is gay marriage is a boon to the most vital sector of the American economy: small businesses — particularly florists, gift shops, bridal and formal wear services, wedding planners, hotels, banquet halls, limousine services and the rest.

In 2008, researchers predicted that if gay marriage had remained legal in California, it would have pumped $684 million into the small-business economy, added 2,200 jobs and contributed $64 million in state tax revenue as well as $9 million to counties in marriage-license fees over the ensuing three years, from 2008 to 2011.

In Washington, D.C., where gay marriage was legalized last spring, and which has a population about 2 percent the size of California’s, gay marriage is projected to create 700 jobs and contributed $52.2 million to the local economy from 2010 through 2013.

A new study [PDF] in Rhode Island found that legalizing gay marriage would add $1.2 million in revenue to the state over three years. A similar study in New Jersey predicted [PDF] that gay marriage would create 800 new jobs and $248 million to the economy, if it were legalized there. And in Massachusetts, where gay marriage has been legal since 2004, a 2009 study [PDF] found that same-sex weddings had added $111 million to the state economy.

The speaker’s statement on DOMA provides yet more evidence that Boehner and the tea party snookered swing voters into voting for them based on their campaign promises to focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

What the Republicans have delivered so far is the same gross ineptitude on fiscal issues that was a hallmark of the George W. Bush years and a return to the culture wars of the George H. W. Bush era.

One comment

  • February 25, 2011 - 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Agent Orange would never kill jobs. He’s keeping those golf caddies very busy.

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