Thursday, June 18, 2009

The $9.5 Billion Gay Marriage Windfall

So far five states in this country have legalized gay marriages, but the Federal government has yet to make any changes to the definition of marriage – although on a related note Obama did sign an executive order earlier in the weekend extending benefits to domestic partners of Federal employees. Those states have reportedly seen increased revenue from the increase in marriages, and the issue has gotten many experts questioning what type of impact Federal recognition of gay marriages could create.

Miriam Marcus of addressed this question in a new article where he claims, “if same-sex marriage were legalized nationwide, the lackluster wedding industry would perk up fast.”

Howls of protest erupted last month when California's Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, stripping gay and lesbian couples of their right to marry. Adding to the din: all the disappointed planners, seamstresses, jewelers, travel agents and caterers who comprise the massive yet plodding American wedding industry.

There are 781,267 same-sex couples living together in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau's 2005-07 American Community Survey. The Williams Institute, a research arm of UCLA's law school, predicts that if gay marriage were legalized nationwide--only Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Iowa and (as of earlier this month) New Hampshire allow it now--about half of those couples would tie the knot within three years.

Talk about a stimulus package. While wedding-related revenues--snagged by small shops to giant corporations like Tiffany, Williams-Sonoma and Marriott International --top $160 billion (an average wedding now costs $20,400), the industry has shrunk at an annualized 1.9% rate after inflation since 1999. If half of the same-sex couples got hitched, Forbes estimates that the industry would reap nearly $10 billion in additional revenue.

Check out the rest of the article at, or you might be interested in reading a few earlier entries I’ve posted on LGBT financial issues – Taxes 101 For Domestic Parents & Same-Sex Couples and Taxes 101 For Domestic Parents & Same-Sex Couples.

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