Marriage brings economic windfall
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law has released a new study analyzing the economic gains that same-sex couples’ weddings will bring to California. According to the report, the state’s wedding industry will receive a substantial $683.8 million boost in direct spending by same-sex couples over the next three years.

The study predicts that, based on the experience of Massachusetts, half of California’s 102,000 same-sex couples will want to marry, leading to 51,000 weddings. Another 68,000 out-of-state gay couples are likely to travel to California to marry. This economic lift will also likely generate almost 2,200 new jobs in the state.

“In a tough economic climate, California businesses are in a unique position to reap the wedding windfall, bringing millions of additional dollars in revenue to state businesses,” explained economist M.V. Lee Badgett (pictured), co-author of the study and research director of The Williams Institute.

Presidential honor decried
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) strongly condemned President George W. Bush’s awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace. During a March 2007 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Pace called lesbians and gays “immoral” before adding, “I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts.”

“Honoring General Pace with the country’s highest civilian award is outrageous, insensitive and disrespectful to the 65,000 lesbian and gay troops currently serving on active duty in the armed forces” said Aubrey Sarvis, SLDN executive director. “Our men and women in uniform are making tremendous sacrifices for our country and are looking for the president to recognize leaders who offer them praise and vision, not condemnation and scorn.”

On June 19, Bush honored Pace alongside five other recipients at a White House ceremony. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian award.

Partner registry law enacted
PITTSBURGH, Pa. — The Pittsburgh City Council gave final approval June 17 to a domestic partner registry. The new policy allows any two city residents — unless they are too closely related to be married under state law — to pay $25 and be registered as partners. When a city employee registers, the couple immediately becomes eligible to share benefits under the city’s domestic partner benefits law.

The registry also provides a standard for Pittsburgh employers that allow workers to share benefits with their partners. Openly gay city council member Bruce Kraus (pictured) wrote the registry legislation, which passed by a vote of 7-1. Two opponents spoke against the registry prior to the vote.

The decision elicited cheers from several citizens in the audience who were at the meeting to receive a proclamation for Pride Week events. Kraus said that the legislation shows that “Pittsburgh is in fact a very progressive and forward-thinking city.”

Coors supports anti-hate effort
DENVER, Colo. — Coors Brewing Company is the first corporation to respond to a public call by Judy Shepard to join her in ensuring that dealing with hate is a top priority in U.S. schools and workplaces. Coors, a national sponsor of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, will match 100 percent of the first $25,000 in individual donations contributed through the Foundation’s new Campaign to Erase Hate website.

The Campaign to Erase Hate was created to mark the 10th year since Matthew Shepard’s death. The goal is to equip individuals with the necessary tools to discuss and address hate in our society. These tools include personal webpages, resources on dealing with hateful speech and actions, monthly correspondence and, most importantly, providing a means of invite 10 others to join the effort.

Coors is the first company to sign on as a corporate supporter. “Coors takes great pride in being a partner with an organization with such a powerful and important message.” Said Doug Sanborn, Manager, Corporate Relations. “We wanted to help the Foundation engage more people in this important campaign as well as help provide the crucial funds it takes to fulfill such a movement.”

Gay seniors group scores grant
NEW YORK, N.Y. — SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) has received a grant of $100,000 over two years from The David Bohnett Foundation to support a new national advocacy initiative to eliminate discrimination against LGBT seniors in government policies on aging. The new grant will fund sessions on advocacy issues at It’s About Time: LGBT Aging in a Changing World, SAGE’s fourth national conference on LGBT aging.

“This grant from the David Bohnett Foundation is a very important step forward for SAGE and the LGBT aging field because it will fund critical new advocacy efforts on behalf of LGBT seniors all across the country,” said Michael Adams (pictured), SAGE’s executive director.

The grant follows on the heels of other key developments recently announced by SAGE, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. AARP has signed on as the lead sponsor of the upcoming national conference, slated for New York City, Oct. 12-14. In January, SAGE announced a $500,000 two-year grant from the Arcus Foundation to support a groundbreaking advocacy partnership on LGBT aging between SAGE and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force.

David Stout

David Stout is the associate editor of QNotes. He can be reached at