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Liveblog Day 4: Part II Dr. Eagan continues


By Rick Jacobs

Eagan: 5,100 marriage licenses issued when legal. Some of those were out of state. Weddings have two types of impact on local economy: 1. Event itself, which yields sales tax; 2. Guests who stay at hotels and eat at restaurants.

E: If prohibition were lifted, first we’d see more resident weddings which would be $21 million per year. Non-resident marriages produce event, per diem and hotel revenue. Third set of new economic activity would be out of town guests who come for resident weddings and spend per diem and hotel revenues. All totaled up, the spending effect is on the order of $35 million and hotel revenue $2 mm, $1.7 mm of sales and .9mm for hotel tax. Short-term projection per year. Reasonable to assume we’d see return to this level as soon as legal, but not at this rate forever. Always new people who want to get married, so always new revenue.

E: If marriage for same sex couples permitted, would result in income tax savings for them. They’d spend some of that money in SF which would yield more sales tax. DOMA would have to be lifted before we’d see the effect of this. Average savings per same sex couple (some would have higher tax burden), but average is $440 per couple. If they spent all of that in SF on taxable goods would yield $74,000 per in increased sales tax revenue as would state which gets more than county on sales tax. To the extent that benefits improve if married and do not then have to pay for spousal insurance, they’d have more money to spend.

[Looking at document PX0811 which is municipal code about discrimination and is equal rights ordinance. Admitted.]

Human rights commission is governed by this. City’s policy is to actively discourage discrimination in contractor hiring. Ordinance is designed to discourage discrimination by mandating that contractors provide same sex coverage. Costs city $1 million to administer this. City incurred costs in defending the ordinance against legal challenges. [Point: if they are just married, this all goes away. The city saves by not having to deal with a bizarre construct to help prevent discrimination that does not exist with opposite sex couples.]
With same-sex couple marriage, would reduce costs for companies to comply with city regulations. Might be that some low cost bidders are not even in the game because it’s too hard to comply with city regulation, but if the marriage is legal, the costs will go down and more contractors will bid. Overall contracting cost for city is $2 billion so even a 1% reduction in contractor costs is $20 million. If marriage were legal and Supes repealed ordinance, cost for this to city would be zero. [So normal laws are cheaper for society. It’s cheaper to let ‘em marry, as the Economist cover famously proclaimed in the last century.]

[Chart: Summary of Impacts: Quantifiable and Non-Quantifiable]

Total approximate loss to city is $25 million per year or more. Most impacts are not as quantifiable as $2.6 million in sales and hotel tax revenue and $74,000 for loss of local spending from income tax savings. Non-quantifiable include how much healthier you are over your lifetime, how much more wealth you generate over your lifetime.

[UPDATE] 10:01Prop. 8 cross-examine. [Point he’s trying to make is that gays and lesbians have “celebrations” even if they can’t do so legally and if they did so already, they won’t do it again.]

Patterson: You assume that every gay and lesbian couple will spend this amount on weddings. You have based your evidence from 17 June to 4 November 2008. You assume that same rate will apply. You recognize that there was “pent up demand” for marriage.
E: All correct.

P: Rate that occurred during that time frame was inflated relative to some future rate?

E: Yes.

P: You believe pent up demand not satisfied during that time period?

E: Yes. Assume same rate of marriage if legalized.

P: Your assumption that there is pent up demand is based on your living in the city and observation?

E: I did not use the concept of “pent up demand.” Reasonable to assume you’d see same rate as when last legal.

[This is stomach churning. Can you imagine someone saying there is pent up demand for heterosexual couples to marry? WTF. Patterson makes it sound so base.]

P: Goes to depo to show that E said there was “pent up demand” based on observation and based on list of pending marriages at registrar?

E: Yes.

P: PX805 (Plaintiff’s Exhibit) Summary of marriage licenses. P reads off number of marriages before 4 November and then says that because there were only 56 pending marriages from from 5 November.

E: If you are asking me if the number of 1,000 or so marriage licenses issued from October 20-November 4 and then dropped to almost nothing after 4 November is what we would expect to see if marriage is legal, the answer is no. In other words, there is more “pent up demand” even though I did not use that concept in my analysis. E explains that you would not go to county clerk now and make an appointment since it’s illegal. “You would not think that every couple that wants to marry would make appointments for what can’t happen.” E says there is only evidence of “some” demand.

E: Number of marriage appointments when it’s legal and licenses that are issued are measure of actual demand, but the number after it’s illegal is not. [Laughter up here. This Prop. 8 guy is trying to show that everyone who wanted to marry got married in that short window. He’s making an idiot of himself.]

P: Turn to tab 3 in witness binder.

[UPDATE] 10:28 P: Has E look at projections based on Massachusetts weddings. The key question is E’s statement in depo that rate of same sex marriage would drop by 67% in year two of legality. The documents show the entry for every wedding, confidential (private) and public.

E: That’s why there are two documents.

P: Resident weddings v. non-resident weddings. PX 1735 at tab 5 page 42, “Same-sex inside SF.” [So they are orienting the documents so they can each understand at what they are looking.]

[Lots of orienting of documents about weddings.]

2,331 ss marriages in SF in the period. E used .38 as divisor to get to annualized rate since the period in which it was legal was 38% of the year.

P: Puts up charts that shows that 2,331/.38=6,134 marriages in next year and then multiply by two to get 14,599 SF same sex marriages in two years of legality according to your projection.

E: Yes.

P: Admits PX 817 which is census estimate of unmarried male households (7,033) and 2,591 female which equals 9,624 totals which approximates to gay and lesbians. Trying to get E to say there are not enough gays and lesbians who would be in SF to get married to yield the numbers in E’s calculations.

E: I cannot and did not project by length of time that short-term projection of weddings would apply. Not a good predictor of number of marriages because we don’t have information on couple formation and migration.

P: Intro Williams Institute Report [Go Williams Institute!!! Check them out at UCLA. They are one of the best centers for LGBT law and studies on the planet.)]

E: Williams has compared the number of ss couples in Mass who married in first three years with American Community Survey. After 3 years, 44% of ss couples married in Mass.

P: Your projections assume that over 100% of SF couples marry over two years.

E: I don’t believe that this is a correct way to analyze.

P: Not asking if correct way to analyze, just asking if it is fact that outcome is over 100% of ss couples marry.

E: Correct, then.

P: You have not attempted to determine how many out of town guests actually came to weddings during the time they were legal.

E: I can’t imagine a way to get that information. We assumed 10% of weddings had out of town guests. Very conservative as we are for all economic assumptions. Relied on Williams Institute info.

P: Assume that 100% of spending on same-sex weddings is new.

E: Assume that ss couples spend 25% of what op sex couples spend. (So this is complicated, but E said he did not understand correctly how Williams arrived at its conclusions. P did a decent job of questioning some of the numbers, but there’s a missing elephant here: same sex couples do spend on weddings as we see in Massachusetts.)

P: Since 4 November 2008, four new jurisdictions have ss marriage. Would that have an impact on SF?

E: Might have some impact, but SF is a tourism destination as well as a place where people could get married. I doubt it would change much. I don’t consider lots of factors here. It’s fairly simple methodology.

P: If marriage is legal in all 50 states, would that reduce the number who would get married in SF?

E: I see your point, but I’m not sure it would matter. Depends on number of ss couples who want to marry.

[UPDATE] 10:33 [It’s 1030. We’re taking a break. Judge had announced that the court had withdrawn from the pilot program of videoing. Cooper now says that he has submitted a letter asking that the tape recording of the trial cease. He says it is not within the local rule. ]

Judge: I don’t believe so. Local rule permits recording for purposes of use in chambers. That is customarily done when we have overflow courtrooms. I think it would be quite helpful to me in preparing the findings. That’s the purpose for which it will be made going forward. The recording is not for the purposes of public broadcasting.

Cooper: I appreciate that clarification.

[They will do ANYTHING to keep this trial secret. I truly believe they’d rather have this trial in a star chamber (Ken or otherwise) than in public. They are afraid of the truth.]

[NOTE]: Following the break I moved to a new thread, as this one was getting a bit long.

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  • 1. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:12 am

    Average savings per same sex couple (some would have higher tax burden), but average is $440 per couple. If they spent all of that in SF…

    Heh, the irony… this sounds vaguely like trickledown. "If committed same-sex partners pay less taxes, it will stimulate the economy!" hahhaha, I'm not knocking the argument, it's just funny to have a trickledown-esque economic argument being presented in a case like this.

  • 2. Redwraithvienna  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:25 am

    Trickle down can work. Just not the way the Reps. want to do it.

    They want to gibve huge tax breaks to few people.

    This would be a small tax break to a lot of people.

    As Warren Buffet said. "It doesnt help the economy if i save 100 Millions in taxes, i will still buy only one DVD Player, on the other hand if you give 1 Million People 100 Dollars, they all will buy a DVD player and that will help the economy"

  • 3. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:33 am

    Fair 'nuff.

    It's also worth noting — and this was a big part of my journey from libertarian-but-socially-progressive to died-in-the-wool liberal — that even if Republican-style trickledown did work, "a rising tide raises all boats" turns out not to work very well with homo sapiens. Possibly for reasons related to evolutionary pressures (though this is speculative), it has been shown time and time again that it is too much income inequality which breeds unhappiness and a plethora of social problems, rather than too little income per se.

    So even if giving tax breaks to the obscenely rich would result in an increase in wealth for the poor and middle class (which is dubious), it could still exacerbate poverty-related social problems anyway.

  • 4. Shane Z.  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:19 am

    I've read elsewhere before that gay people tend to be more wealthy on average, thus marriage would have them contribute more to the economy as a married couple than even straight couples would. Wonder if that will be brought up :O

  • 5. Jason R  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:24 am

    I still wonder about this trend of gay wealth (and education to some extent). Obviously gay and lesbian people don't kids without planning for them so that reduces some financial burdens to us, however, I think there's probably a sampling bias in terms of determining the average wealth of our community. I have a feeling the more financially stable you are the more likely you are to live openly. How much that affects that type of analysis I don't know, but I've never seen hard numbers for that assertion and I take it with a grain of salt (especially in the south, where I've known plenty of closeted poor gays and lesbians).

  • 6. drjams  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:33 am

    This gay wealth you speak of – you MUST be talking about WHITE GAY MEN!

  • 7. fiona64  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:35 am

    This was discussed a couple of days ago in the trial (you can find it in the transcripts). Gay men and lesbians go to college at a higher rate, and thus have better employment opportunities than do straight folks who marry right out of high school and/or young and have kids right away. They wait to bring children into their lives until they are financially stable as well.

    This is not to say that there are no GLBT people who are less well off; the statistics talked about the average.

  • 8. Jason R  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:42 am

    I was not speaking at all towards any specific demographic of gays and lesbians… there could be specific sociological issues within different demographics, but I was not at all addressing that issue at all. That's yet another grain of salt these sorts of statements should be taken with.

    do you know which witness was testifying about this? I'd be interested to see what numbers were used if they had statistics on this.

  • 9. Mike v  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:35 am


    I think that the perception that gays are more wealthy is based on the fact that gays tend to have more disposable income. Take a gay couple living together and a straight couple at the same income levels, add kids to the straight couple, automatically the perception occurs that the gays have more money. They don't really, but because the gays can spend their disposable income on nicer furniture vice diapers… Of course, this assumes that the gays have no children. If their are an equal number of children, then more likely the disposable income and living style will be closer. Perhaps even negatively impacted by the fact that the gays have to spend a lot of money on lawyers (to ensure both parents can make decisions for the kids (like going to the er), ensure that powers of attorney are in place for health care decisions, wills for untimely death (to ensure that the house is passed on to the surviving partner without interference from others), not to mention the costs of adoption or surrogacy).

  • 10. James d  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:37 am

    gay people are not more wealthy… just the opposite. gay men and lesbians tend to earn less than str8 counterparts:

    "Among all full-time employed men ages 25-54, the median earnings of partnered gay men are $3,000 below the income of men partnered with women (married and unmarried). "

  • 11. Shira  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:52 am

    It's all location, location, location. And very misleading. See my comment a little further down (for some reason the mobile site wouldn't let me just "reply")

  • 12. Alan E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:25 am

    Annual CA state taxes usually go up for married couples compared to filing separately.

  • 13. Badcowboy  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:26 am

    I am curios why the number of couples that would marry matters. Is this something that was considered for inter-racial marriage? Is it not discrimination if you only apply a law to a few people?

  • 14. Michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:31 am

    such a great point! its like we have to prove some financial benefit to granting equal rights!
    "well the slaves will have to pay taxes, so lets free them!"

  • 15. Calvin  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:35 am

    I would agree with you, I don't see where this is going. First they (the Prop8'ers) were saying we're a powerful lobbying force, and now they're saying that there aren't enough of us to make an impact.

    The National Center for Lesbian rights tweeted:
    "economic harm to the govt is relevant bc it rebuts any claim that state has an economic reason to bar ss couples from marriage. And it also shows that prop 8 is irrational" So the number of couples matters primarily in just showing that there's enough economic reasons to let queers marry. (Well, that's my understanding, at least).

  • 16. Badcowboy  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:05 am

    That makes sense – if they can prove any rational basis – they win. Thank you

  • 17. Jane  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:27 am

    We're 1 in 18000, married in SF, but from out of state.

    2 days in the city, marriage took place at city hall, flowers, hotel, meals, transportation, wedding commissioner (+tip),

    $$ – Approx $2000.00

    the event…..pricless! 🙂

  • 18. robert wright 1 of 1  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:32 am

    Hey Jane, I'm right there with you. I was living in California when we got married, now in NM. Gifts for the wedding party, $1500.00, hotel flowers celebration afterwards $1200, Reception Party one month later for 30 people (we did all the work and cooking ourselves) $1500. Married until I die, Priceless 🙂 We were together 9.5 years before we married, and now just celebrated 11 years together. Second anniversary of our marriage is June, 27th. They can't take that away from us.

  • 19. Michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:42 am

    We're right with you. Ours is June 26th! we're very fortunate, yet still very committed to this fight!

  • 20. Alan E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:59 am

    November 3, day before the election!

  • 21. Jane  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:28 am

    they should be asking him about the cost to the state for unwed mothers (health, housing, food, etc), and cost of foster care,

  • 22. Doug  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:36 am

    Indiana grandmother Linda Wolfe holds the Guinness World Records title for most marriages: 23. One lasted just 36 hours. She's on the lookout for No. 24, and when she finds him, no law can stop her from marrying him.….

  • 23. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:41 am

    She must be gay, right?

  • 24. jsteven  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:38 am

    Legal point is that SF has standing as they have been harmed?
    Aren't benefits to society are minor in this case? Only that there is unequal treatment, harm to citizens in that group, and no rationale basis (or if suspect class, compelling state interest) in this discrimination… not sure what this line adds to our side other than part of "no harm to others and indeed even benefits to society." The "no harm" is the important item.

  • 25. Tom  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:45 am

    Welcome back Rick. Catching up on your posts from this morning. Great stuff. Thank you so much for doing this.

  • 26. Shira  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:45 am

    Re: LGBT making "more money," it's because while we live everywhere in the nation, we tend to congregate in urban areas where salaries – and cost of living – are higher, but where it is safer to be out. And the salary statistics are often taken from surveys of gay communities, since that's where you can get the most data at once. So obviously SF and WeHo folks are gonna make more money than some guy in Oklahoma, regardless of orientation. You compare LGBT salaries to straight salaries *in the same city* and you'll find that we make less overall. Also consider that a gay male couple may make more than a straight couple solely because they've got two male incomes, and men make more than women even for the same work. A lesbian couple is automatically disadvantaged simply because women make less. Of course you know Prop 8's solution is to add a man. My solution is CLOSE THE GENDER/SALARY GAP! But the bottom line is that no, we are not living large compared to the rest of the nation. The numbers alone don't tell the whole story.

  • 27. David Kimble  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:49 am

    Great points, Shira! I concur with your analysis of our community, too! It can be dangerous living in a small community these days.

  • 28. Joey  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:08 am

    Shira, I think you hit the nail on the head with that breakdown of why the data can say we make both less and more at the same time. Thank you!

  • 29. carl  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:48 am

    Not to dispute gender pay gaps, some things to consider:

    Peers in my industry make the same (peanuts) so there is no gender gap.

    The problem with statistics is that they are manipulated in order to win an argument.

    For example, if you are comparing CEO salaries using gender, there are more males than females in those positions. So I'd prefer when arguments about gender wage gaps are used, they include more details.

    Carly Fiorna (fired from HP) certainly wasn't suffering in the wage department, nor was Jill Barad (also fired) of Mattel. Though one could argue the $210 million severance package for Robert Mardelli (also fired) compared to the measly $20 million Carly received is one example of male to female wage discrepancies (in this case, severance package discrepancies).

    But how many of us have worked as CEO's or been fired and received a severance package as a result?

    But my point is, (from my personal experience) I've never worked in an industry where males made more than females. Starting salaries were the same across the board and raises were based upon performance (or whether or not your supervisor liked you). Which I think is more the norm these days, considering corporate America has become cheap when it comes to the worker bees. They don't care whether you are male or female, they are saving the big bucks and benefits for the CEO and upper management.

    Should there be more QUALIFIED females in CEO positions? Yes.

    Should there be equal pay for equal work? Yes.

    Are statistics manipulated to make one's point? Yes.

  • 30. Alan E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:50 am

    Check out this cartoon from Mark Fiore in today's SFGate:

  • 31. David Kimble  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Thanks for the link – it, too, was priceless!

  • 32. George  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:50 am

    Aren't the economic arguments for marriage the same for civil unions? Does that matter?

  • 33. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:58 am

    Aren’t the economic arguments for marriage the same for civil unions?

    For the most part, the answer is "yes, but more so." There are a few economic benefits that are unique to marriage (e.g. tax implications, though that requires appeal of DOMA), but mostly it just means the same but more of it. e.g. the employer health benefits thing — some employers will cough up for civil unions, but not all. Also, money spent on weddings — I'm sure some people have rip-roarin' Civil Union Receptions, but I guarantee you that more people will want to do more celebratin' if it's labelled marriage rather than a mere union.

  • 34. Shira  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:17 am

    Only if 100% of the rights, recognition, and responsibilities are the same. But 1) civil unions do not provide access to federal marriage benefits, and most of the economic benefits of marriage accrue at the federal level, and 2) the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that separate is not equal, no matter how similar two institutions look. If all 50 states and DC ceased to recognize civil marriage and agreed to apply state and federal benefits only to people who obtained civil unions, regardless of gender, then yes, the same economic arguments would apply, because civil unions would become a universal substitute for marriage instead of a pity prize for a minority of people excluded from the institution. Unless civil unions replace marriage for everybody, civil unions will always be inferior and fail to provide the same benefits and protections as marriage.

  • 35. Peter  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:18 am

    It was said in the comments at Firedoglake and it bears repeating here: civil rights should not be dependent on whether or not they're good for the economy. This whole line of nitpicking argumentation by Patterson – "but wouldn't we have to raise the cost of licenses? The FEES, man, think of the FEES!" – gets me really riled up.

  • 36. Samantha Lavin  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:19 am

    I wish someone would bring up the point that part of the reason that same sex couples do not immediately all rush to marriage is because marriage in and of itself requires someone to be at least somewhat OUT! Because many gay people are still very protective of their privacy due to DISCRIMINATION, a lot of them are not ready to formally document in public their gay relationships. I believe this number will grow as it becomes more accepted. The Prop 8 people keep pointing to the fact that gay couples don't really want to get married and our side needs to bring it back to discrimination.

  • 37. carl  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:52 am

    Excellent point.

  • 38. Ginger  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:17 am

    I think that they, both sides, are underestimating the amount of gay people in the state. I was a small part time lesbian club promoter in LA for 2 years and we were able to get 2,500 on a mailing list, many others have mailing lists exceeding 10,000 young lesbians in LA alone. All of these girls will grow up and most will want to get married… that is way more then the census data suggests. Because GAY PEOPLE DON'T TRUST THE GOVERNMENT, THE DATA IS WAY LOW. One of the main reasons that we don't trust the gov. is because of things like Prop 8. We don't want to come forward and put our name on a "gay list" in fear that the government to turn and use it against us. I know many gay couples who will not report in the upcoming census and will not register for domestic partnership without marriage equality. So the true number of gay people is unknown.

  • 39. paulhogarth  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Margaret Cho — “Ice sculptures alone would pay off the national debt.”

  • 40. Jim  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:30 am

    Haha good point 🙂

  • 41. Nicki  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:32 am

    Paul what do you make of them questioning if media were there, and is the prohibiting of the Hate Crimes stats just applicable to this witness ? Stewart certainly seemed able to tease out the historical systematic discrimination and slander, fear , demonizing tactics from the witnesses yesterday dispite Thompson's lame attempt to make it seem like things were rosey out here for the lgbtq

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