Photo: Cean One Studios
Marriage equality has been at the forefront of politics and culture for the past few years, with many both for and against it. Several states have already legalized same-sex marriage and in a few years it will likely be part of law nationwide. For those opposed to it, reasons including religion, the sanctity of marriage, and the decline of the quintessential American wedding tradition are all of concern, but news that same-sex marriage could boost the economy might have more than a few people changing their tune.
A couple of days ago, the Washington Post published a study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law which found that legalizing same-sex marriage in a mere 11 states could generate more than $464 million dollars, solely in its first year. Though this isn't the ideal reason to be all for marriage equality (that ideal reason being basic human rights), no politician can ignore the positive benefit of a healthy and thriving economy — a marked struggle for the U.S. in recent years.
In three years, the Williams Institute projects that close to 90,000 same-sex couples would marry in the 11 states included in the study. The Institute estimates that this would "contribute $723.5 million to the state economies over that period" and they arrived at this figure by multiplying the 2010 census numbers of couples who would marry in states where same-sex marriage was legalized by how much money is spent on wedding costs, gleaned by doing market research by way of The Wedding Report.
The almost $500 million dollar estimate might also be unrealistically low, as the Williams Institute scaled back to using just 25% of The Wedding Report's figures when it came to reasons of societal discrimination and using dollars for wedding costs that would have otherwise gone to their states for other reasons. Nevertheless, it's still an extremely large sum of money, which makes us wonder just how much would be generated if every state in the U.S. decided to rule in favor of marriage equality.
Texas, Pennsylvania, and Ohio are the three states that would profit most from legalizing same-sex marriage. Here are the stats:
Couples marrying over first three years: 23,200
Three-year economic benefit: $181,600,000
Three-year revenue benefit: $14,800,000
Economic benefit in first year: $116,200,000
Couples marrying over first three years: 11,168 (low-end estimate: 7,490)
Three-year economic benefit: $92,100,000 (low-end estimate: $65,000,000)
Three-year revenue benefit: $5,800,000 (low-end estimate: $4,200,000)
Economic benefit in first year: $58,900,000 (low-end estimate: $42,000,000)
Couples marrying over first three years: 9,842
Three-year economic benefit: $70,800,000
Three-year revenue benefit: $5,000,000
Economic benefit in first year: $45,200,000
With mid-tern elections less than three months away, we'd say it's time for every state to put this on their short-term agenda.
(Source: E! Online)