Gay marriage worth millions to California economy

Jane Lim June 9, 2008
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Same-sex marriage could potentially boost California’s deflating economy by $683.6 million (£345m) over the next three years, an analysis by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law has claimed.

The Institute based their predictions on the experiences of Massachusetts, which legalised gay marriage in 2004.

Last month the California state Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples are entitled to civil marriage.

The court rejected a request to delay their decision until November, when a ballot proposition on the issue will be put to California voters on the same day as the US Presidential and Congress elections.

The court specified that the decision will become final on June 16th, 2008, at 5pm.

The Institute’s report said that approximately 51,320 of California’s same-sex couples would want to marry and another 68,000 out-of-state couples are likely to travel there to tie the knot.

The direct spending by the newlyweds would create and sustain more than 2,178 jobs in California, particularly in the travel-related business.

“In a tough economic climate, California businesses are in a unique position to reap the wedding windfall, bringing millions of additional dollars in revenue to state businesses,” explains economist M.V. Lee Badgett, co-author of the study and research director of The Williams Institute.

The positive effect of same-sex marriages is also echoed by talk show host Jay Leno.
“What’s so funny to me is how people miss out on the economic benefits just in terms of catering and flowers and planning,” he said at an event in Hollywood last week.

“The businesses that cater to [the gay community] do very well. So it just seems like common sense.”

The California state government should also see increased revenues.

The Williams Institute estimates that same-sex couple spending on weddings and tourism will generate more than $64 million in revenue for the state and local governments over the next three years.

$55million will be generated in sales and occupancy tax revenues and $8.8 million in marriage licence fees for California’s counties.

“The fiscal effects of same-sex marriage will reverberate well beyond City Hall, helping to balance the state budget,” said study co-author Brad Sears, executive director of the Williams Institute.

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