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Editorial columns

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Business benefits of marriage manifest

The battle over the future of marriage in Indiana has boiled over from the political and cultural battlefields into business boardrooms. One fallacy, Chick-fil-A’s record-setting sales day notwithstanding, is that preserving the importance of having both a husband and wife in marriage is bad for business.

It is an opinion from a book by Richard Florida called “The Creative Class.” When the Wall Street Journal reviewed Florida’s book, editors dismissed his theory as “economic snake oil.”

Married men have stronger employment status than cohabiting men. Men’s productivity increases 27 percent as a result of marrying. Women in intact marriages have a higher income-to-needs ratio than in any other family structure. Jennifer Morse of the Ruth Institute notes, “The family is absolutely necessary for the market to function. The substitutes … are expensive and ineffective, and taxpayers end up paying the price.”

As to the claim that the 31 state marriage-protection amendments create bad business environments, there are numerous job studies that debunk this lie:

•The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked states for per capita personal income growth from 1999-2009. Eight of the top 10 states have passed marriage protection amendments. None have same-sex marriage or civil unions.

•CEO Magazine surveyed 543 chief executive officers, asking them to rank the best and worst states for business and job growth. All of the top five have marriage protection amendments. The worst five business environment states were California, New York, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts, the first state to allow the unraveling of marriage.

•In February, Kiplinger Financial Magazine named the top 10 states for predicted job growth in 2012. Every one of the top five states has a marriage protection amendment.

•This fall, CNBC profiled “America’s Top States for Doing Business” using input from the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness. Nine of the top 10 business-friendly states have a marriage protection amendment. None has same-sex marriage. Those states with same-sex marriage landed toward the bottom of their business performance data.

The myth that respecting marriage is bad for business continues.

If the Indiana legislature allows Hoosiers to vote on the importance of marriage including husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, I will bet you a Chick-fil-A sandwich that this lie will still be a scare tactic used against it.

Micah Clark is of the American Family Association of Indiana. He wrote this for Indiana newspapers.

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