Updated March 30 at 12:29am

Will establishing gay marriage equality and rescinding E-Verify spur economic growth in R.I.?


During his inaugural address, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee said that establishing gay marriage equality and rescinding E-Verify would “do more for economic growth in our state that any economic development loan.”

Political freedoms are often associated with entrepreneurial activity, but that is most often seen in countries that have not had those freedoms previously.

Is the change that affects the gay and immigrant communities going to unlock pent-up economic activity in Rhode Island?


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We do not want government in control of marriage. We need to start treating each other as humans. Government free marriage is the pathway to equality. Government should have no control over religion or marriage. Leave marriage to the religions or to the people to freely contract with one another.

Monday, January 17, 2011 | Report this

It certainly sounded like a very wacky comment from the Governor that more economic development would be prompted by those "fringe" issues than any economic development plan - certainly lots of people attacked him for it, including myself.

Then I looked into it further - there's actually no shortage of credible studies that show the economic benefit of establishing Marriage Equality - California, CT, MA, are just a few of the states where the economic benefit was quantified. Massachusetts alone reaped a $100 million bonus in tourism and filing fees. This is at heart a civil rights issue - so I'd support it without the economic benefit - but those who mocked the Governor would do well to actually stop underestimating him and look into the studies that back up his statement. http://www.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute/home.html

On E-Verify, I still feel that the only ones "anxious" about that law were likely illegal immigrants. Legal residents have nothing to fear. But let's stop kidding ourselves that illegal immigrants working under the table don't form a very important part of our state and national economies. There's plenty of businesses out there hiring illegals for jobs that even out of work Americans seem reluctant to do - migrant farming, cleaning, janitorial etc...

The net result is that you've got a low paid work force (yes illegal on numerous levels) that winds up contributing the economy, keeping costs down for certain businesses, and ultimately costs down for consumers.

Seriously - eliminate all "under the table" workers tomorrow and our economy is going to suffer some serious shocks. So here again, what appeared to be odd comments from the Governor have more basis in fact than most "smart" people originally gave him credit for.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | Report this

These are two issues that should not be bundled into one survey question. I cannot even vote on this one.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | Report this

I agree with Tim. I had to vote "no" but I believe that gay marriage would be an economic boon to the state. I for one make it a practice to boycott/not buy from any stores or manufacturers who receive a poor "equality" score from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Nor would I vacation or attend any event/conference in a state that had a practice of discrimination against gays, minorities, or women.

I am not gay, but I do believe in equality in the area of civil rights -- including the ability for adults to marry -- for gay members of our society.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | Report this
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