MINNEAPOLIS -- When the economy in Dallas went bust in the 1990s, Chris Everett started looking around for a new place to take his skills in advertising. He settled on Minneapolis -- attracted, he says, by the city's creative vibe. Though Everett likes it here, he says he might be moving again soon. The reason: Minnesota, like many other states, might pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. ''To have bigotry and hatred written into our constitution changes the concept of everything, and I don't know that I would feel as accepted here,'' says Everett, who is gay. ''The fortunate thing for me, being part of the creative class, I'm very mobile. I can do what I do just about anywhere.'' A group of business leaders is pointing to people like Everett in warning that a ban on gay marriage could be bad for business.
Earlier this month, more than 50 executives -- in advertising, public relations, marketing and related fields -- sent a letter to Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Legislature, warning that the proposed amendment could drive away talent. The argument, advanced in some other states, is that there is a ''creative class'' of talented workers, straight and gay, who are a driving force in the economy and seek out vibrant communities that are tolerant of differences. Some of those who back the gay marriage ban reject the argument. ''Minnesota is such a fabulous state to live and work, it's a stretch to think people would choose not to live in Minnesota because our laws continue to reflect that marriage is between a man and a woman,'' said state Sen. Michele Bachmann, who has led the fight for the amendment. - AP