If States Got LGBT-Friendlier, They Could Earn Billions
by Samantha Allen
January 04, 2018
If Texas lawmakers piled up hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in the middle of an empty field and set it on fire, there would be massive public outrage.
But according to data from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, that is effectively what Texas and other states are already doing by not creating a more supportive atmosphere for their LGBT citizens.
As the state-level Williams Institute numbers start to add up nationwide, it’s becoming clear that legislators don’t just cost their states big money by passing attention-grabbing—and boycott-inducing—laws like North Carolina’s HB 2; they are also losing out on potentially billions of dollars by failing to pass laws that protect LGBT people.
Those invisible costs of inaction are hard to estimate—and even harder to convey to the public.
“The boycotts and stuff make headlines because they often involve big companies or famous people and that link is very clear,” Williams Institute State and Local Policy Director Christy Mallory told The Daily Beast. “But we’re trying to illuminate this other link.”
Mallory has co-authored several analyses showing the economic impact of allowing statewide discrimination against LGBT people to continue—and thereby incurring the sort of public health costs associated with “minority stress,” a psychological term for the stress that often accompanies social marginalization.