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Same-Sex Marriage Is Big Money

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And the dough is just starting to roll in.
By Marene Gustin

Just how much money has same-sex marriage generated nationally? According to a new study released this month by California-based think-tank The Williams Institute titled “Estimating the Economic Impact of Marriage for Same-sex Couples after Obergefell,” by Christy Mallory, Senior Counsel and Anna M. Curren Fellow at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, marriages by same-sex couples have generated an estimated $813 million boost since the landmark decision—not to mention an added $52 million in state and local sales-tax revenue.

At the time of the ruling, 13 states still banned same-sex marriage, with Texas being the largest one (and likely to be the one that benefits the most economically from the decision).

A 2014 Williams Institute report suggested that Texas could add $181.6 million dollars to the Texas economy, and up to 1,500 jobs would be created. That report also estimated that 23,000 same-sex couples would marry in the Lone Star State in the first three years after the ruling. It should be interesting to see if that holds true come next summer when Obergefell v. Hodges will have been in effect for one year. Already, 96,000 same-sex couples have tied the knot nationwide.

“This study shows that businesses and governments have benefited from marriage for same-sex couples,” Mallory says.

Some key points in her report:

• Total spending on those marriages generated an estimated $813 million, including $635 million for the weddings and $178 million spent by out-of- state guests.

• This economic boost has added an estimated $52 million in sales-tax revenue to state and local coffers.

• This spending could support an estimated 9,700 jobs for one full year.

The report also notes that, “According to The Wedding Report, average wedding spending in the U.S. in 2014 was $26,444. Same-sex couples may receive less financial support from their parents and other family members to cover wedding costs due to persistent stigma, resulting in less spending than their heterosexual counterparts. Taking these factors into account, as in previous studies by the Williams Institute, we estimate that same-sex couples spend one-quarter of the amount that different-sex couples spend on wedding arrangements.”

On the other hand, long-time same-sex couples without children and with established careers might spend more than the average on a wedding. Either way, legalizing same-sex marriage is a boon to the wedding industry, which already adds roughly $60 billion to America’s economy.

And then there are the honeymoons—although, let’s face it, most couples tying the knot here will likely want to honeymoon somewhere more exotic. Still, they might spend their first night in a lavish hotel suite in Houston.

It’s clear that allowing marriage equality in Texas was not only the right thing to do, but also the profitable thing to do.

Marene Gustin is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.

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Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and Gayot.com, among others.
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