By Alex Temblador
I’m not gay; I’m not a lesbian; I’m not bisexual. Marriage, unlike it was for many LGBT Americans before the SCOTUS decision, was always a legal option for me. Having said that, I celebrated the marriage equality decision because as a LGBT ally, I recognize that the marriage equality decision will affect my life and will change my future positively and for that I am thankful.
Fifty years ago, my parents would not have been able to wed. As the product of an interracial couple, I understand how the right to be with someone that you love is something that should never be denied. This was one of the reasons that I supported marriage equality. Close family members, friends, and an understanding of justice and equality were the others.
With the SCOTUS decision, I have read many articles from non-LGBT persons wary of what this means for the future, their future. I’ve heard backhanded comments from others who think this isn’t a big deal—“The gays, well, they got what they want now.” I’ve been appalled and surprised by so many people, how they can belittle an obviously historic and life-changing case for everyone in the United States.
I’m 25 years old. I’m not married. I don’t have children but I hope to be married one day, hope to have a family of my own which is why I’m so happy same-sex marriage was legalized. I’ve read a few posts that mention how young children that are alive now have seen the 1st African American president and the legalization of same-sex marriage and how wonderful it is for them.
I’d like to add to that. When I have children, my children will grow up in a world where presidents can be any race or color, and furthermore, they will grow up in a world without having had to witness the fight for marriage equality. They will be free from the harsh attacks from anti-marriage equality supporters. They won’t come across news casters that demean the LGBT community for wanting marriage equality. To them, same-sex marriage will just be marriage.
Ten years from now (or more or less) when I have children, they will be living in a more equal society and for that I’m thankful for the marriage equality decision.
This also got me thinking: what if one of my children comes out as gay? How amazing will it be that they will be able to grow up knowing that they can get married? They will grow up without even thinking it’s possible to be denied such a thing.
I understand that I am talking about my hypothetical future with children so let me break down how the marriage equality ruling will directly affect me and other people who are not a part of the LGBT community now, in this age, within the next years.
Now that gay and lesbian couples can marry, they will be putting money into the wedding industry and thus money into my economy. Think of everyone involved in the wedding industry: venues, bridal stores, DJs, florists, designers, clothing stores, shoe companies, travel companies (honeymoons), airlines (got to fly to the honeymoon), hotels (guests have to stay somewhere), restaurants & catering services, security companies, etc.! The wedding industry, which includes non-LGBT persons and LGBT persons, will benefit immensely in monetary terms from this new law of the land and the money will trickle down to other parts of the economy.
In 2014, Nerdwallet estimated that $2.5 billion would be put into the economy when same-sex couples were allowed to legally marry. In 2013, economist M.V. Lee Badgett of PBS News Hour estimated that it would put in $1.5 billion into the wedding industry and “all those purchases generate millions in sales tax revenue for state and local governments.” Even better, The Williams Institute in December of 2014 estimated that same-sex marriage would generate $2.6 billion and would boost state and local tax revenue to $184.7 million which would support 13,058 jobs. Yes, you read those numbers right!
Last time I checked, state and tax revenue goes toward helping fund education, health care facilities, roads, and public needs, things that will benefit me and others who are and those that are not a part of the LGBT community.
Let’s look at it from a different standpoint. Before same-sex marriage was legalized many LGBT couples were unable to use their partner’s health insurance, “as a result, same-sex couples were much more likely to be uninsured than different-sex couples. And if the uninsured avoid preventive care or get care they can’t pay for, they wind up costing us all.”
Now that same-sex marriage is legal, gay and lesbian couples will benefit from each other’s health insurances as will their children. When a family has good health insurance, they are more likely to go to the doctor when they are sick or take advantage of yearly check-ups to prevent health problems. When there is healthier people walking around, there is less spreading of diseases or common colds and the flu.
Similarly, I now live in a country that has set a standard for the world when it comes to equality (although later than some countries). I hope that this marriage equality decision will prompt other countries to legalize gay marriage, or more importantly, decriminalize homosexuality, a sad reality for some of my fellow human beings. With each new law that passes that protects the LGBT community, I can hope that this will create a ripple effect across the world and when I travel now or in the future, I will be traveling to a country that respects and protects not just LGBT rights, but women’s rights, those of other races, disabilities, and more. I want to travel and explore a world that would protect me and those that I love, not live in a world that harms people for who they are.
Last, and of course not the least, this same-sex marriage decision means that many family members and friends of mine will have the chance to get married and this will directly affect my happiness. Their happiness is mine.
This marriage equality decision did not come soon enough for many, however, it should be appreciated by all, the LGBT community and those that aren’t a part of it. I may not be gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and I won’t marry a woman one day, but I can say with absolute certainty that the legalization of same-sex marriage was a victory for me and for every American, whether you realize it yet or not.
Photo Credit: Angela N.
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