The legislatures of states are deeply involved in the public debate on how to define marriage, and argue whether marriage’s legal definition should be extended to same-gender couples. Currently, seventeen states and the District of Columbia have laws allowing same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is prohibited in thirty-three states, and twenty-nine states outlaw same-gender unions in their state constitutions. The effects of special interest group lobbying for and against same-sex marriage legalization impact local and state governments, as well as states’ constitutions.
Special interest groups such as Freedom to Marry, Human Rights Campaign, and Equality Virginia, monitors state proposed legislation, and advocates within states on behalf of states’ gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Gay advocacy interest groups argue for same-gender couples to have “access to the same ...view middle of the document...
As is the case with Virginia’s Democratic candidates, Mark Herring for Attorney General, and Terry McAuliffe for Governor, campaigns which Equality Virginia and the Human Rights Campaign endorsed, each contributing significant sums of cash and in kind donations. The two interest groups bestowed 100% Smart Vote ratings on the candidates for their public support of LGBT rights issues. Executive Director of Equality Virginia, James Parrish announced the interest group’s endorsement saying, “We [Equality Virginia] will do everything we can to make sure these candidates win the vote in November”. With the endorsement and financial backing of LGBT interest groups, “Democratic candidates swept the state’s top ballot positions for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general for the first time since 1969.” The newly elected attorney general filed a January 2014 brief in federal court, challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage which states, “The Attorney General concluded that Virginia’s laws denying the right to marry to same-sex couples violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” Governor Terry McAuliffe, also recently elected, “supported the Attorney General’s refusal to defend the ban.”
Another point to note is about LGBT interest group lobbying’s indirect effect on the local government economy. State economist and Michigan Professor, Justin Wolfers suggests that “states will gain from same-sex marriage [due to] an increase in marriage license fees, sales tax, and wedding expenses revenue”. Similarly, in July 2012, Mayor Michael Bloomberg detailed New York City’s welcome economic jump since same-sex marriage became legal. The city earned 259 million dollars from marriage licenses, local celebrations, and wedding related purchases. The city gained sixteen million dollars in tax revenue.” For cites in states such as Georgia, that do not recognize same-sex marriage, budgets not strained paying public housing allowances, food stamps, social security or spouse insurance benefits to same-sex couples, see their balance sheets untouched by these expenditures.