Letter: Traditional marriage better for business


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To the editor:

The battle about the future of marriage in Indiana has boiled over from the political and cultural battlefields into the business boardrooms. One fallacy — Chick-fil-A’s record-setting sales day notwithstanding — is that preserving the importance of having both a husband and wife in marriage is bad for business.

It is an opinion that came from a book by Richard Florida called “The Creative Class.” When the Wall Street Journal reviewed Florida’s theory, they dismissed it as “economic snake oil.”

Marriage has a great number of business benefits. Married men have stronger employment status than cohabiting men. Men’s productivity increases by 27 percent as a result of marrying. Women in intact marriages have a higher income-to-needs ratio than women in any other family structure.

Dr. Jennifer Morse of the Ruth Institute notes, “The family is absolutely necessary for the market to function. The substitutes to the family are expensive and ineffective, and taxpayers end up paying the price.”

As to the claim that the 31 state marriage protection amendments create bad business environments, there are numerous job studies that debunk this lie:

  • The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked states for per capita personal income growth from 1999 to 2009. Eight of the top 10 states for best personal income growth have passed marriage protection amendments. None have same-sex marriage or civil unions.
  • CEO Magazine surveyed 543 chief executive officers asking them to rank the best and worst states for business and job growth. All of the top five have marriage protection amendments. The worst five business environment states were California, New York, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts — the first state to allow the unraveling of marriage.
  • In February, Kiplinger Financial Magazine named the top 10 states for predicted job growth in 2012. Every one of the top five states have marriage protection amendments.
  • This fall, CNBC profiled “America’s Top States for Doing Business” using input from the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness. Nine of the top 10 business-friendly states have marriage protection amendments. None has same-sex marriage. Those states with same-sex marriage landed toward the bottom of their business performance data.
  • In spite of this easily obtainable data, the myth that respecting marriage is bad for business continues to be repeated. If the Indiana legislature allows Hoosiers to vote on the importance of marriage including husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, I will bet you a Chick-fil-A sandwich that this lie will still be a scare-tactic used against it.

Micah Clark

Executive Director,

American Family Association of Indiana

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