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Washington (State)

Report: Gay marriage in Washington would boost economy by $88 million

Bill now just one vote shy of Senate approval
Saturday, January 21, 2012

Extending marriage rights to same-sex couples in Washington State could lead to an $88-million boost to the state’s economy over the first three years, according to a report by the Williams Institute at UCLA.

The report estimates the economic impact of extending marriage to same-sex couples in Washington State on local businesses and government budgets, and finds that the total spending on wedding arrangements and tourism by resident same-sex couples and their guests is likely to generate $8 million in tax revenue for state and local governments.

The figures in the report draw upon data on average wedding expenditures in Washington and tourism reports from 2010, along with data regarding marriage expenses by same-sex couples in other states.

The report considers that couples in existing registered domestic partnerships might have different spending patterns from couples that do not have that status. Even if there was no new spending by the 7,518 couples currently in registered domestic partnerships, the state would see an estimated increase in spending of $18 million and a tax boost of $1.6 million.

“Our study estimates that resident same-sex couples will spend $39 million on weddings in Washington in the first year alone,” said co-author Angeliki Kastanis, Public Policy Research Fellow at the Williams Institute. Added Kastanis, “That translates to approximately $3.4 million in tax revenue, given Washington sales tax rates.”

Washington state appears closer to legalizing same-sex marriage — State Sen. Jim Kastama announced Friday that he will support the state’s marriage equality bill in the Senate, putting it just one vote shy of passage.

Kastama, a conservative Democrat from a politically diverse district, said his decision is a “deeply personal one.”

“Unlike some of my colleagues in liberal districts, I will not return home to cheers and handshakes,” Kastama said.

“I represent the district I was raised in. My wife and I purchased and live in the same house I grew up in and we have raised our family there. My district has known me my whole life and for 16 years has entrusted me to be a fiercely independent legislator. The people of my district are generous and decent, but I also know that there are childhood friends who will never forgive me for this vote.”

A broad coalition of businesses, including Microsoft, Nike and Real Networks, signed a letter Thursday in support of the legislation.

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16 more reader comments:

  1. I’ve been saying this for years only to have everybody look at me like I’m a flippin’ idiot!

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:35am
  2. its funny how they only consider it if it brings some sort of profit,or attracts “tourist”,has compassion for others and does the quest for the pursuit of happiness mean anything to them anymore?

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:36am
  3. Another good reason for marriage equality!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:40am
  4. well the pursuit of happiness to them is money

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:41am
  5. since when is the argument FOR CIVIL RIGHTS all about $$$$$$ ????

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:41am
  6. yes,its a sad truth :/

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:42am
  7. Wooooooooooooooow thats crazy, but cool, it should be done, not just for the money but for the happiness of millions of gays aswell!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:43am
  8. One more vote!!!! Then…Yay for Washington!

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:44am
  9. When we are to blind to see the value of an other opinions. Then we are to blind to accept change. If there is no room for inprovement. Then why bother messing with it. There will be no room for enpowerment. And now we just defeated our self.

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:45am
  10. Gay people need to withhold their money until we are given equal rights and fair treatment under the law!

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:45am
  11. It would boost the whole countries economy!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:46am
  12. Huum Just another reason to shoot this down – what money not needed thank you politicians (sarcasim)

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 12:06pm
  13. Well, if you can’t win “them” over with humanity, appeal to the greed, lol.

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 12:22pm
  14. I will always be the bridesmaid and not the bride.

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 12:48pm
  15. Yes this has a lot of clout.. though I still always believe there’s more pricelessness to relationships and involvement. It’s sad that MONEY speaks much more when we know its true value … compared to human relationships, water, food, sun, shelter, etc..

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 4:14pm
  16. How many homophobes does it take to change a lightbulb? none. They fear change, even if it can make the world a brighter place.

    Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 5:30pm