The gay brain drain

One of the more conservative national publications has tackled a gay rights issue in an op-ed today - the "brain drain" of gays in states with laws that discriminate against LGBTs.

The piece highlights a report by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission on the economic impact of that state's laws barring domestic partnership benefits for same sex partners.

In a section of the report titled, "Discrimination Impacts the Economy," the commissioners found, "People are leaving the state … and seeking out jobs with employers that have policies and environments inclusive of and favorable toward LGBT employees."

Ironically, Michigan's domestic partnership ban was just blocked by a judge who cited the new U.S. Supreme Court DOMA ruling. The Michigan ban will now be challenged in a trial.

The piece goes on to note that employers are getting questions from prospective candidates for jobs:

"I think the concept of an LGBT brain drain is a possibility," says Joe McCormack, managing partner of McCormack & Warren Executive Search Consultants, a national job placement firm based in Palm Springs.

McCormack says his gay and lesbian clients who are hot prospects now have clear choices when it comes to legal protections.

"I would say one of the first questions we get from any LGBT candidate is about corporate benefits, and whether they are available to same-sex partners. If that answer is no, that is a big red flag for them."

And it's not just LGBT workers:

"It's a whole generation who have grown-up accepting LGBT co-workers as equals who do not want to work for companies that aren't progressive."

Larger companies are also expecting a rash of transfer requests from LGBT employees that will want to move to more LGBT friendly states. The SF Business Times had a piece a few weeks back on this issue.

Informally, I can see that I'm seeing quite a few of my friends and acquaintances on Facebook that are going on trips out of NC or other "gay marriage ban" states to get hitched and some are making plans to move to California or one of the gay marriage friendly states in the northeast. It's more than just idle talk - they're checking out job prospects and talking about putting up their house for sale or looking for a place to live.

With Amendment One and the antics of the Republicans in the legislature, are we seeing a "gay brain drain" here in NC? Any big employers in NC seeing an uptick in people wanting to transfer or not work here because of the climate towards gays and regressive legislation?


I've seen it

I've seen people leave North Carolina because of how it treats LGBT folks. And back when I was job searching out of grad school, it was certainly a factor that I weighed into my decision making process, and is a factor my husband will be looking at in the coming year as it becomes time for him to start looking for a tenure track position.

I suspect it goes well beyond just a LGBT drain.

Why would anyone with children want to work in NC? The schools are being starved, our infrastructure is not in good shape, and the proposed tax changes will have a negative impact on many. And, as others have suggested, we may see local taxes go up to compensate for the overall revenue loss to the state.

Why live here when there are so many other places that have a more humanitarian and, actually, "free" living environment. NC will never vote to legalize marijuana even for medical reasons, and just saying "hemp" (agricultural) would likely cause a rash of strokes in the capitol.

And, just to say it, while our beaches in SE NC are lovely it's hard to find a place to park, and when you do it's $2/hour....even without facilities nearby.

If I was younger, I'd be looking at moving just to escape the dreadful state of affairs. Even Georgia is more progressive than NC...IMO.

Stan Bozarth