Joe McDermott, chair of the King County Council's budget committee, was coming down to the wire this week to finish the budget when voters approved gay marriage on Tuesday, a vote that prompted county budget analysts to predict a spike in marriage license applications that will create about $50,000 in new revenue.
A conservative estimate, McDermott says, shows about 770 marriage license applications for same-sex couples in the the next year. Each application costs $64.
So what was McDermott going to do with that money?
He drafted an 11th-hour amendment that directs that $50,000 into programs that help at-risk queer youth. "I wanted there to be a nexus between that money and where it went," says McDermott, who is the county council's first openly gay member and who intends to marry his partner. "We know that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in at-risk, homeless, runaway, and sexually trafficked youth populations."
All nine members of the council's budget committee passed the amendment this morning—that's all the Democrats and all the Republican on the council—assuring its adoption into the full budget. It directs $35,000 for at-risk youth programs run by the nonprofit Youth Care and $15,000 for Lambert House.