The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has weighed into the controversial issue of same-sex marriage by endorsing Referendum 74, the measure to be voted on by Washington State residents in November that would legalize homosexual marriage.
The real reason given by chamber representatives was one of dollars and cents; they felt legalization of same-sex marriage in Washington State would help in recruiting new business.
"There is a clear business case for supporting equal access to civil marriage rights," George Allen, the chamber's vice president for government relations, said in a written statement. "Marriage equality allows companies to streamline benefit administration, improves our members' ability to recruit and retain the best talent, and helps our state's bottom line."
The chamber's Board of Trustees cited three primary reasons for their endorsement.
1) Improved recruiting efforts, especially when competing against states such as Massachusetts and New York where same-sex marriage is legal
2) It allows companies to simplify the benefit plans offered to employees
3) They estimate that legalization of same-sex marriage will bring in approximately $88 million in revenue over the next three years
Last week, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and other executives gave six-figure contributions to the organization that is spearheading support for the referendum, also saying that legalization of same-sex marriage would be beneficial to the state's business environment.
So far, no state that has allowed its citizens to decide the issue has voted to legalize same-sex marriage. In fact, 32 states have either outlawed gay marriage or defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
But the issue of money could be a significant one for supporters of traditional marriage in Washington State to overcome.
To date, Preserve Marriage, the group opposing the legalization of same-sex marriage, has raised $139,702 while Washington United for Marriage, the group in favor of legalizing gay marriage, has raised over $2 million.
Financial disclosure documents filed with the state's Public Disclosure Commission in June reveal that Preserve Marriage raised only $17,000 in June compared to the $900,000 raised by Washington United for Marriage.
Pastor Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Wash., has been one of the leaders trying to uphold traditional marriage and he told The Christian Post last week that no amount of money can overcome what is right in God's eyes.
"I laugh when people talk about how much money they've raised to promote a sinful lifestyle," said Hutcherson. "God is not concerned about money and if we can successfully mobilize the Christians in our state who believe that marriage should be between a man and a women, then we will succeed."