By Eli Stokols
Extending marriage to gay and lesbian couples in Colorado would generate $50 million in spending to the state economy and $3.7 million in state and local tax revenue, according to a study released Thursday.
The study from the Williams Institute, a national think tank at the UCLA School of Law, looked at 2010 U.S. Census data on the number of gay and lesbian couples living in Colorado and estimates that 50 percent – roughly 6,200 couples – would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere.
As a result, the state’s wedding business would see an increase by $40 million, and an increase of roughly $10 million in tourism expenditures made by out-of-town guests over the same period.
Total state and local tax revenue would rise by $3.7 million, including an estimated $2.3 million in local sales taxes.
The first year would produce $2 million of this spending.
The boost in wedding spending will generate approximately 436 jobs in the state.
The study comes as the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver is set to hear oral arguments in two cases over the next two weeks challenging rulings in Utah and Oklahoma that overturned statewide bans on gay marriage.
The decisions could set a legal precedent that impacts two other lawsuits challenging Colorado’s gay marriage ban.
“We’ve already known that marriage would give committed couples here in Colorado the opportunity to make a lifetime promise to each other and protect their families the same way everyone else does,” said Dave Montez, Executive Director of One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy group for LGBT Coloradans and their families.
“Now we know that marriage equality would also benefit our economy and contribute to the state’s bottom line.”