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.
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.
- Wedding-related spending and tourism would generate approximately 459 to 595 new jobs in Virginia over the first three years.
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“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.