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Report: Marriage equality will add $15 million to Utah economy over 3 years

Sunday, April 27, 2014
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SALT LAKE CITY — Legalizing same-sex marriage in Utah would generate an estimated $15.5 million for the state’s economy in the first three years, a new report from a California-based think tank shows.

UtahThe projection is based on the guess that about 2,000 gay and lesbian couples would marry, about half of all same-sex couples in the state according to Census figures.

The money spent to put on those wedding celebrations and by friends and family traveling to Utah to attend them would bring a windfall to the state economy, according to researchers at the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.

A federal judge overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage in December, leading more than 1,000 couples to get married before the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay pending the appeals court ruling.

A federal appeals court in Denver is reviewing the case, with a ruling expected in the coming months. From there, the case could eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Utah’s law is one of many being reviewed by federal appeals courts.

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The Williams Institute, a think tank that studies issues related to sexual orientation, estimates that about $12 million would be spent on wedding arrangements and another $3.5 million by out-of-state guests who come to Utah for the celebrations.

The report says the estimates are on the conservative end, noting that the economic impact for the state could be even greater.

Gay-marriage advocates say the study is yet another reason why gay marriage should be legal in Utah.

The study estimates each same-sex couple would spend about $6,100 on each wedding. It points out that New York, Connecticut and Washington have seen increases in wedding spending after gay marriage became legal there.

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