Friday, February 29, 2008

Say Gay, Bay State

The Bay State doesn't seem to be hurting too much from same-sex marriage associations. I do recall four years ago the dire admonitions. Enabling SSM would mean the end of all good including:
  • Our best and brightest singles and straight couples would flee to New Hampshire, where men were men and sheep were sheep.
  • Students, tourists and associations would not attend college, visit (and spend money) or hold their conventions here, in the Gay State.
  • Companies would relocate to avoid the taint of homosexual love and lust.
  • Quickly on the stilettos of SSM would follow legalization of polyamorous, sado-masochistic and other relationships that affront God and require great physical flexibility.
In short, the end was nigh.

Apparently, our economy, business leaders, tourists and others didn't get the anti-SSM memos. Tourism is at a high, as is college enrollment. Out-of-staters complain, but that the housing costs for those wanting to move here are high, not because there may be married SS couples nearby. Moreover:
It's not a good time for the anti-gay and anti-SSM folk. Their dire predictions have been wrong from the first syllables and continue to be so. Quite simply, SSM is a plus here. Being the nation's only state with full marriage equality is attractive to many.

We can't link to ads yet. The campaign by the Mullen agency hit the airwaves today in select markets, but we can't see the tourism's roll-out on their site until 4/1/8. (Why do companies even consider starting new projects on April Fool's or Halloween? Every software product I've known that had either release date fared poorly.)

The ads start in a series of new markets. These include Albany and Providence, short drives from Massachusetts in general and Boston specifically. Betsy Wall, the tourism office's executive director finessed the gay angle with some mealy mouth wording:
We're spending taxpayers' money here, and we don't want to paint a picture of one version of Massachusetts. This is a place that is diverse and varied. We're trying to show that Massachusetts is welcoming to everyone and there truly is a lot to do here for a lot of different people.
The BBJ folk were more candid. The article cited a headhunter who said, "There's a woman that I'm working with right now because she came to Massachusetts so her marriage would be recognized. Also, Henry Hoey, a board member of the Greater Boston Business Council, noted that membership is up 5% over last year. He said, "Since the marriage law passed, we see a lot more (gay) professionals moving into the Boston area. The effects of this law are starting to take hold."

Amusingly enough the article stretched to find a counterpoint, turning to Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute. They were the big losers in trying to block and then repeal SSM here. The best he could offer is a pathetic I-got-nothing claim. "There's anecdotal evidence that (there has been) an exodus of families from Massachusetts because of the same-sex marriage law. So there's two sides to the story."

Of course, in this case, there really aren't. Years ago, when my wife wrote for Scholastic Magazines' middle-school newspapers, she had to find at least two-sides to every issue. Everything was this, but that. Not here...SSM is good for biz.

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