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Report: Marriage equality would add $53 million, new jobs to Mich. economy

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
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Brianne Bowen, The Ann Arbor News (AP)Mark Thiesmeyer and Matt Hook of Ann Arbor get married by Rev. Roger Pohl after more than 12 years together outside the Washtenaw County Administration Building in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, March 22, 2014, the day after a federal court struck down Michigan's ban on gay marriage.

Brianne Bowen, The Ann Arbor News (AP)
Mark Thiesmeyer and Matt Hook of Ann Arbor get married by Rev. Roger Pohl after more than 12 years together outside the Washtenaw County Administration Building in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, March 22, 2014, the day after a federal court struck down Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.

Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Michigan would generate an estimated $53.2 million in spending to the state’s economy and generate over 500 new jobs over three years, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Williams Institute, an independent think tank at UCLA’s School of Law, estimates that — based on 2010 U.S. Census data — 14,598 same-sex couples live in Michigan. Of those couples, the Institute estimates that 50 percent (7,299 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

Over 4,600 marriages would occur in the first year alone, and bring up to $34 million in revenue to the state of Michigan that year.

“This study confirms that all Michiganders benefit from marriage for same-sex couples, not just the LGBT community,” said study author, M.V. Lee Badgett;

Key findings include:

  • 7,299 in-state same-sex couples would choose to marry in the three years following an opening of marriage to same-sex couples in Michigan.
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  • The total spending on wedding arrangements and tourism by resident same-sex couples and their guests would add an estimated $53.2 million to the state and local economy of Michigan over the course of three years, with a $34.0 million boost in the first year alone. This economic boost would add $3.2 million in sales tax revenue to the state coffer.

  • Spending related to same-sex couples’ wedding ceremonies and celebrations could generate up to 457 full- and part-time jobs in the state.

A federal judge overturned Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban in March following a rare trial that mostly focused on the impact of same-sex parenting on children. More than 300 same-sex couples married in the state before the ruling was put on hold.

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard arguments in the state’s appeal of that ruling.

The full study is here.

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