Gay Marriage is Good for the Economy


Forget about your faith. Forget about your politics. This blog is about business and as it turns out, gay marriage would rock our economy. Studies by the Williams Institute for California and New Jersey project over $82 million in revenue to benefit those states over the next three years.

In addition, the Congressional Budget Office has concluded that if all fifty states and the federal government extended the rights and obligations of marriage to same-sex couples, the federal government would benefit by nearly $1 billion each year.

Bring on the economic stimulus! The numbers will start out astronomically high as a predicted 50% of same sex couples marry in the first heady years. Even after it tapers off, we can expect gay couples to marry at the same rate as their straight counterparts. The most accepted estimates tell us that 10% of Americans are gay. Even those who’d rather they didn’t exist concede the number may be as high as 5%. Okay, so somewhere between 5% – 10%.

The percentage may sound low, unless you’re a numbers person. According to the Association for Wedding Professional International, the wedding industry in the United States rakes in approximately $86 Billion a year. This doesn’t include honeymoons (that’s tourism) and household items (the registry). And if you count everything purchased within 6 months before and after the wedding, we’re talking over $120 Billion. Now, you numbers people – tack on 5%-10%. Sure, that’s oversimplifying things, but it’s a big number any way you slice it.

What gets a boost? In addition to reception site, jewelers, vacation destinations, photographers, restaurants, apparel and accessories sellers, florists, musicians, limo services, stationery stores, and clergy, think about these economic impacts:

  • tax revenue on all of the above
  • marriage licence fees

According to the Williams Institute, state and local revenues from taxes and licenses alone would equal $63 million in California during the first three years. And that doesn’t begin to touch the government savings of caring for children who could be legally adopted by gay couples.

The most interesting part of the studies is the analysis concerning gay couples going to the state in question to marry because their own state forbids it. It will be interesting to see how the states line up when the dollars and jobs that come with gay marriage are more widely understood.

What happens in ten years? Because gay couples are no different than everybody else, once they get sick of each other and start cheating, they’ll transition nicely into the ‘relationship industry’. Win-win-win!

Forget about McCain and Obama, let’s get that Queer Eye guy to run for President. Who’s with me?

Get more information for your state here.

  • What’s the basis for expecting gays to marry at the same rate as straights?

    1) By definition, gays are different. Do we even know enough to say how the differences that make one gay would affect one’s attraction to a social norm?
    2) Even if gayness were uncorrelated with the factors leading one to marry, the tendency for gays to stay “in the closet” would still reduce their marriage rates. I don’t think for a minute that legalizing gay marriage would bring everyone out of the closet. Legalization doesn’t mean instantly creating a culture with full acceptance of gayness.
    3) I’m too tired to think of other reasons, but I’m sure I’ve only hit the easy ones.

  • Oh.
    3) Some of that “extra” revenue is already realized in the form of commitment ceremonies. Gay cruises, etc. You’d have to figure out how much is already realized and subtract it from your estimates of incremental revenue. Then you’d have to reduce your 5-10% multiplier by the percentage that already have commitment ceremonies, etc.

    This is starting to sound like Bill Clinton’s 1996 victory speech (SNL skit reference).

  • Are you kidding me? Gay marriage would destroy the economy as it would further break down the family unit – which is the foundation of society as we know it. Gay marrige means more unwed mothers, which means more people becoming dependent on the government. Gay marriage means more AIDS and other health related problems, which means millions more will be spend on medical research to develop more drugs. This alone will could cost every family thousands of dollar as their health insurance rates increase. I just read an article yesterday about how the world health organization said that the spread of AIDS is primarily in the gay population, yet they expect the entire world to pay for new research to help.

  • Drea

    Regardless of what the long-term trend is, gay and lesbian couples are creating a positive spike in the industry as I write this. Closets do create pressure, when packed tightly enough…

  • C.

    @ Curt:

    Can you explain to me how gay marriage (which means commitment and longterm relationships) is going to increase aids infections? On the contrary, every study goes to show that those who have a risky comportment are the ones who have the lowest self-esteem and most pronounced internalized homophobia (and who, then, don’t care whether they get the virus or not because it is a form of suicide).

    Secondly in the US, 75% of hiv positive people are heterosexuals.

    Thirdly, I’d really, REALLY like to know what gay marriage has to do with unwed women. Honestly.

  • Thanks C, I was scratching my head over the same inconsistencies of Curt’s not-so-fact-based comment.
    Not to say I haven’t heard this line of arguments before: it is far too easy to churn out something one overheard sometime, somewhere that seems to support one’s case and values. Lots of people talk before they think. Or read.

  • Anna

    Why compare wether it is good for the economy or not. I believe that gays shouldnt get married. 1. Gays tend to get AIDS (more percentage of AIDS come from gays). I dont have anything against gays im just sayin this cause if they want to live they shouldnt have relations because they might get AIDS

  • JoeyNYC

    The AIDS epidemic from gay marriage is why this marriage reform must be accompanied by nationalized health care, prohibition against charging higher premiums for pre-existing conditions, and prohibition against charging higher premiums to married gays. All this will assure that their torrent of AIDS-related medical bills will be paid by the straights.

  • Tomouri

    @ Curt, Anna & Joey:
    So, without looking at websites that are obviously written by biased and homophobic people, could you explain to me just exactly HOW gays and lesbians would cause more AIDs and have more diseases? It has been proven that gays spreading more AIDs is just a myth.(Obviously created by homophobes).
    It would be more widely spread by people that are unfaithful with many sexual partners. Yes. This very much includes the heterosexuals.

    And I honestly don’t know what gay marriage has to do with unwed mothers either. Marriage would mean that two people will be able to legally form a family, therefore, they wouldn’t be unwed.

  • JackCA/CO

    Whatever negative thing people say, it does not even matter, the youth is more accepting and open minded so after all the old negative people die out we will rule over the negativity and its only a matter of time so just wait for it.

  • Alex the college student

    @anna, Curt, and all the other doubters
    yes there might be a higher percentage of homosexuals contracting AIDs, but then again you must look at the number of homosexuals compared to the number of heterosexuals. there are substantially more heteros in america than there are homos, so in reality you still have a higher chance of contracting AIDs and othe STDs from heteros than you do from heteros. and women who are unwed probably wouldnt marry homos anyway, so thats a completely void excuse. I mean cmon, homosexual men arent attracted to women, which is what makes them homos, and im pretty sure, though not positive, that most of those unwed women arent exactly attracted to females and if they are, power to legalizing gay marriage. and there is no evidence that legalizing gay marriage would “break down” the family unit. on the contrary, i believe that it would only help to increase the family units because they know what its like to be segregated and hated upon, thus enabling them to be more understanding with their children and not promoting hate in the household.