A witness in the trial challenging California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage in the state has said that the prohibition is expensive and reduces revenue.

Edmund Egan, the chief economist for the city of San Francisco, which is opposing the ban, testified that the anti-gay legislation did not make financial sense.

He told the court that the city is forced to spend more money on people that do not have health insurance due to the fact that they are often not able to be included in their partner’s benefits because they cannot get married.

“It’s clear to me that Proposition 8 has a negative material impact on the city of San Francisco. These are impacts that are hard to quantify, but over the long term they can be powerful”, he said.

Egan further explained that married people accumulate more wealth and thus generate more tax revenue for the city. He added that the city spends $2.5 million a year on mental health services for gays and lesbians as a result, in part, of discrimination against them.

“The long-term cost of discrimination weakens people’s productivity in the workforce. Higher productivity leads to higher wages and higher wages lead to higher payroll taxes for the city,” he explained.

Egan said that he believes that Proposition 8 is a form of discrimination and that “it’s reasonable to assume that if that prohibition were removed there would be over time a lessening of the discrimination those individuals see in their daily lives”.

Two same-sex couples, supported by LGBT groups and the city of San Francisco, are suing to overturn the Proposition 8 ban which was voted into law by Californian voters in November 2008. The trial is expected to last a number of weeks.

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