Pearls of Wisdom: Same Sex Marriage and Labor Mobility

Labor mobility is a key strength of the American economy.

One of the important reasons why the United States economy is more successful than that of other countries with similar cultures is the flexibility and mobility of labor. While the German Chancellor is telling unemployed Spanish youth to move to Germany, the United States has no such problem.

However, some elected officials are putting in place policies that are antithetical to labor mobility. When I was a managing director at a large financial company, we often would ask employees to move from one place to another to allow us to meet our clients’ needs. That is an important tool of all large companies, not to mention institutions such as the United States Army that, by its nature, must have the flexibility to send solders and dependents to installations all over the country.

The arguments made by the state of Tennessee in the Supreme Court last week are very worrisome. They claim that the people of Tennessee, acting through their elected representatives, have the right to dissolve the marriage and parenthood rights of people who move to Tennessee from other states, since they have been married in a way that they would not have been allow to marry in Tennessee.

Imagine the consequences to a business with operations in Tennessee if:

· An employee says to his manager: I would love to take over the Nashville office – but I can’t because I have a child and I would not be recognized as the legal parent of that child while in Tennessee

· A convention planner says: We really want to have our meeting at the Opery, but one of our board members is concerned that if he should take ill and need hospitalization while there, his spouse would not be able to look after his care while he is in Tennessee.


“Pearls of Wisdom” is a regular feature on the Patriotic Millionaires Blog that highlights board chairperson Morris Pearl’s take on recent topics relevant to political and economic inequality.

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