Same-sex marriages could add $43 million in wedding spending to Wisconsin’s economy in three years if they were legal. But the real economic impact goes far deeper than veils, venues and vows.
On a day in late December 2013, Roger and Indy Arteaga-Derenne sat, marriage license in hand, waiting for a 12:15 p.m. appointment with Judge David Piper of the Hennepin County court system. They had driven 350 miles from their home in Bayside to Minneapolis, and they were nervous. They had plenty of questions for this judge, whom they had never met. Would he marry them? Would he waive the required five-day waiting period for all would-be newlyweds?
[Not single-page] Inside the Milwaukee Police Department Intelligence Fusion Center, a high-tech, crime-fighting unit that houses a team of local law enforcement and federal agents and analysts:
“In 2011 – with help from other Fusion personnel – the team of Blaszak and Harms busted a segment of a sophisticated international smuggling operation. The racket, run by an organized crime syndicate based in the Republic of Georgia and Russia, had contracted with a Milwaukee man to steal Apple products. He’d then deliver them to an associate of the organization who would periodically drive in from New York. At the meeting, the associate would collect the electronics, pay the Milwaukee booster, and from there, the Apple products would be smuggled out of the country for sale in former Soviet republics.
“But the Brew City robber got pinched in Illinois, and an executive with Apple security helped to deliver the robber to Fusion. In a scene out of a Scorsese movie, agents escorted the man back to Milwaukee to meet with officers at a church on North Avenue. It was eerily empty when the cops arrived.”