JRepost – SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / AP)
A state ban on gay marriage is costing the city of San Francisco millions of dollars a year in lost revenue and increased services, an economist testified Thursday in a lawsuit aimed at overturning the prohibition.
Chief city economist Edmund Egan said married people accumulate more wealth and have more to spend on property and consumer goods, which bolsters tax revenue.
He also said the city must spend more on health care for uninsured workers because same-sex couples are not always covered under their partner’s employee health care plans.
“It’s clear to me that Proposition 8 has a negative material impact on the city of San Francisco,” he said. “These are impacts that are hard to quantify, but over the long term they can be powerful.”
Egan testified during the fourth day of a federal trial on a lawsuit challenging Proposition 8, the ballot measure approved by statewide voters in 2008.
The city was allowed to join the suit to demonstrate that governments bear some of the costs of the ban.
Peter Patterson, a lawyer for Proposition 8 sponsors, challenged Egan’s methodology and had him acknowledge during cross-examination that he based many of his estimates on assumptions drawn from the spending habits of opposite-sex couples.
The case is being heard by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who said Thursday he was abandoning his push to have the trial broadcast on the Internet because he didn’t want the broadcast issue to distract from the trial itself. Walker disclosed the decision a day after the U.S. Supreme Court indefinitely blocked his plan to record the trial so it could be transmitted to other federal courthouses.
On the witness stand, Egan said San Francisco has seen higher mental health costs because of discrimination against gays and now spends $2.5 million a year on specialized services for them.