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Report: Marriage equality will add $60 million to Va. economy over 3 years

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
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NORFOLK, Va. — As a federal appeals considers a ruling that overturned Virgina’s ban on same-sex marriage, a new report finds that marriage equality would add $60 million to the state’s economy.

Steve Helber,  APSpencer Geiger, left, of Virginia Beach, and Carl Johanson, of Norfolk, hold signs as they demonstrate outside Federal Court in Norfolk, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. A federal judge heard arguments on whether Virginia's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

Steve Helber, AP
Spencer Geiger, left, of Virginia Beach, and Carl Johanson, of Norfolk, hold signs as they demonstrate outside Federal Court in Norfolk, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014.

Researchers at the Williams Institute, an independent think tank at UCLA’s School of Law, estimates that — based on 2010 U.S. Census data — 50 percent of the state’s 14,244 same-sex couples, would marry in the first three years in which same-sex marriage is legal.

Nearly 5,000 marriages would occur in the first year alone, and bring up to $38 million in revenue to the state of Virginia that year, according to the study.

Other findings of the study:

    Direct spending by resident same-sex couples on their weddings would add an estimated $39 million to $50 million to the state and local economy over the first three years.
  • An estimated three year total $8 million to $10 million would be spent in Virginia by out-of-state guests attending weddings of same-sex couples.
  • The total spending on wedding arrangements and tourism would generate an additional $46 million to $60 million to the state and local economy in the first three years, with $30 million to $38.5 million generated in the first year alone.
  • This economic boost would likely add $2.5 million to $3.2 million tax dollars to state and local coffers.
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  • Wedding-related spending and tourism would generate approximately 459 to 595 new jobs in Virginia over the first three years.

“This report clearly shows that allowing lesbian and gay couples to marry in Virginia is not only the right thing to do, but would also have a positive impact on our economy,” said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia. “This report shows that all Virginians would benefit from marriage equality.”

In February, a federal judge in Norfolk struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriages. The decision has been stayed pending an appeal, and a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Richmond on May 13.

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