California Biotech Execs Fear Ban on Same-Sex Marriages Could Give Edge to Bay State

Xconomy San Diego — 

Opponents of a state ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriages in California have found new allies: local biotech executives, who fear that passage of Proposition 8 could send workers in their industry to Massachusetts, according to a story in today’s San Diego Union-Tribune. This perhaps makes Proposition 8 the latest front in the battle between the two biotech-rich states to attract companies and high-paying jobs.

The Union-Tribune’s Terri Somers writes that Laurent Fischer, CEO of San Diego-based Ocera Therapeutics, and 21 other executives signed a letter to request that the San Diego biotech industry group, Biocom, also oppose Proposition 8, which would overturn a state Supreme Court ruling that allows same-sex marriages in California.

It’s difficult to say whether a ban on same-sex marriages in California would provide an edge to the Massachusetts life sciences industry (in 2004, the Bay State became the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry). However, the state did have California in its crosshairs when it passed a $1 billion stimulus package for the life sciences earlier this year—and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and his administration worked to make sure that the legislation linked to the package passed before the massive BIO International Convention in San Diego this past June.