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Homophobia - especially state sponsored homophobia such as exits here in Virginia thanks to the efforts of Christofascists at The Family Foundation and their trained monkeys in the Virginia GOP - is bad for business and bad for Virginia's economy. That finding has been underscored by an economist at the University of Massachusetts who has studied the economic cost of homophobia from Virginia to as far away as India. Business Week looks at the findings that confirm that religious based bigotry needs to be eliminated from the public square and the marketplace. Here are some highlights:
Economist Lee Badgett says equal treatment for gays and lesbians can benefit economies from Virginia to India. For the past two decades, she’s mined data in her quest to prove it.“My long-run goal has always been the same: It’s using research to help create a more just world,” said Badgett, 54, director of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Center for Public Policy and Administration. “When policy makers can pick out their favorite myth about gay people to hang their policy on, it’s pretty hard to argue against.”The World Bank is collaborating with Badgett to analyze homophobia as a hurdle to development in emerging markets. She’s been called as an expert witness before Congressional subcommittees and in a court case that found California’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. Colleagues credit her with publishing the first research tackling gay and lesbian issues as economic rather than sociological.This week, Badgett’s work for the institute was widely cited by national and international news outlets after the White House said President Barack Obama plans to issue an executive order that would bar federal contractors from discriminating against gay and transgendered employees. The change would cover 14 million more workers than state laws do, she found.Preliminary findings showed that discrimination related to homophobia leads to less education, lower earnings, poorer health and shorter lives. The lost workplace productivity and health problems connected with homophobia cost the country between $2 billion and $31 billion in 2012. The range is wide because data on sexual minorities is scarce, she said.Her work there has shown that gay couples without the option to marry miss out on tax and insurance benefits, and states that don’t allow same-sex marriages lose incremental revenue. Virginia could realize as much as $60 million in the first three years from spending on weddings and tourism, April research showed. While the impact is relatively small -- Virginia’s gross domestic product totaled $426 billion in 2013 - - it does contribute to the economy.
The only thing that in the last analysis that supports anti-gay discrimination is religion - something that has across the centuries brought more wars, death, and destruction than almost anything else. One need only look at the sectarian strife in Iraq or the terror attacks of religious extremists to see that the evils of religion go on unabated even today. The civil laws need to cease empowering religious based hate and bigotry.