News » Glbt

Gay Marriage: Sound Business to the Tune of Billions

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Jul 9, 2008

Social conservatives have loud rhetoric when it comes to marriage equality, but even so they might not be able to drown out a new sound associated with weddings for gays and lesbians: the din of cash registers.

Two new reports from The Williams Institute show that marriage equality could pump tens of millions of dollars into state economies like Calif., where marriage equality just became legal, and NJ, where marriage equality is viewed as likely, reports online news source Business Pundit.

The Williams Institute reports show that Calif. will benefit over the next three year period to the tune of nearly $64 million. NJ, should it become the third state to allow its gay and lesbian citizens full family rights, stands to rake in $19 million over the same period.

The impact on federal coffers should the freedom to marry ever become the law of the land from sea to shining sea? A cool billion annually, according to the Congressional Budget Office, reports Business Pundit.

Those three years will see a front-loaded first year or so, given the historical trend of up to half of all same-sex couples getting hitched in short order in a state where marriage equality becomes law. But even after the initial rush to the altar, the marriage rates for gays and lesbians are the same as for heterosexuals, Business Pundit reports.

Even using a conservative estimate that only 5 percent of the American population at large is gay or lesbian, if gays nationwide were to marry at the same rate as their straight counterparts, the result would be a boom for the already-$86 billion-annually industry.

Factor in wedding gifts, honeymoon vacations, and the expenses of setting up house, and that figure balloons to better than $120 billion per year, Business Pundit reports.

What's 5 percent of that astronomical figure? Six billion dollars.

When it comes to the cost/benefit ratios of public services and any form of social safety net, conservatives like to ask rhetorical questions along the lines of how government would benefit were it run like a business. The question now, in light of these numbers, is whether--and how--conservatives will justify ignoring what looks like sound business fiscal sense.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


  • , 2008-07-09 14:28:04

    Right-wing religious people don’t give a damn about any positive impact of marriage for everyone. They are absolutely locked in a spirit of anger,asked as the holy spirit. We must rise up against their bilge, and live our lives with the people that we love!

  • Mike NYC, 2008-07-09 14:34:52

    You’ll be surprise how cold hard cash will warm the heart of most obstinate anti-marriage advocate. I’ve seen several people on various boards saying they used to be against same sex marriage until they realized how much money they cold make. LOL So much for the "sacred" institution.

  • , 2008-07-09 16:55:27

    yea right mike! There is no such thing as marriage between two people of the same sex! You can fool yourself all you want but you are simply multiplyiing your sins. Repent!

  • ex-Wyo, 2008-07-10 10:25:01

    Difficult to imagine where all these "billions" are coming from. In Massachusetts, if one takes the generous 10% supposition of gays within a general population, that means that since its inception gay marriage has been of interest to only 0.3% of the state’s total population. (Total pop: 6,437,000 X 10%=643,000 gays. Of those, only 21,000 have been married. That’s 3% of the homosexual population; therefore 0.3% of the whole). Unless all of the California weddings-to-be are on the scale of the Windsor’s, it’s difficult to see the earthshaking financial boom that would follow based on real figures. The issue of gay marriage is being demagogued by a small radicalized minority of homosexuals as the Armageddon of the gay agenda, and perhaps it is, but it seems to be of actual interest to a surprisingly small number of everyday people.

  • John Bisceglia, 2008-07-10 20:25:43

    For your average heterosexual:EQUALITY? = No interestGAYS RESISTING TAXES DUE TO DISCRIMINATION? = interest

Add New Comment

Comments on Facebook