Milwaukee Magazine says marriage equality is good for state economy, but the cover photo prompts censorship

Milwaukee Magazine featured a couple—two women in wedding gowns—on its latest cover, and one local shopper was not amused.

At a grocery store, Sendik's Fine Foods in Brookfield, Wisconsin a customer complained about the cover being "inappropriate." Employees responded by placing a black plastic board in front of the magazine, as is store policy for magazines that receive complaints.

However, the black-board prompted additional backlash on the internet and through phone calls from those upset with Sendik's decision to censor the cover.

Kurth Chandler, editor of Milwaukee Magazine, said of the incident, "We anticipated there would be reaction to the cover photo and the story. I’m disappointed the reaction in this case came in the form of censorship. More constructive would be an open dialogue about Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage."

The cover was connected to an article by Abby Callard, entitled "For Love & Money," that exposes the economic downfalls of banning marriage equality in Wisconsin. Abby wrote:

Several [states] – Wisconsin included – have lawsuits making their way through the courts challenging state constitutional bans.

Now that married same-sex couples receive the same federal benefits as married opposite-sex couples, more are leaving states where it’s not legal and marrying in states where it is. Same-sex couples from Wisconsin can travel short distances to Minnesota, Iowa and, starting this summer, Illinois to enter into federally recognized marriages.

Can Wisconsin afford to not legalize same-sex marriage?...Borrowing the research methodology from the Williams Institute at University of California at Los Angeles (see: “Behind the Math of Marriage Equality”), an analysis by Milwaukee Magazine estimates that 4,681 of those couples would get married in Wisconsin in the first three years. That would generate an additional $27.9 million in wedding spending, more than $13.5 million in out-of-town guest spending and more than $2.2 million in added tax revenue, for a total of $43.6 million.

In Milwaukee County specifically, an estimated 1,272 same-sex couples would get married in the first three years, adding an estimated $6.7 million in wedding spending alone to the economy, according to the analysis. In the city proper, 910 same-sex couples would get married in the first three years, adding an estimated $4.9 million in wedding spending to the city’s economy.

Abby explained that marriage equality is not impossible in Wisconsin, but that a long road may lie ahead:

On Feb. 3, Wisconsin joined several states on the litigious route to same-sex marriage. The American Civil Liberties Union, with its Wisconsin affiliate and the Mayer Brown law firm in Chicago, filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of four same-sex Wisconsin couples. The lawsuit seeks to declare as unconstitutional both the ban on same-sex marriage as well as Wisconsin’s little-known marriage evasion law, which has been on the books for decades. That law makes any couple who leaves the state to get married and then returns subject to a potential $10,000 fine and up to nine months in jail, as their marriage would be illegal in the state of Wisconsin.

You can read Abby's "For Love & Money" in its entirety here.

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