Gay marriage changes everything, enhancing our commitment to fairness and tolerance, and removing the stigma from the natural human desire for commitment. Such developments are positive and profound. But one thing hasn’t changed: when two people who have resources to spend come together, it’s a boon to the whole economy.
Florida has banned same-sex marriage, and the state is currently waiting to see if the U.S. Supreme Court will deem that move unconstitutional. Meanwhile, a new study by UCLA’s Williams Institute reveals that Florida’s economy could get a turbo-charge to the tune of millions by allowing gay Americans to tie the knot. The report estimates that over 24,000 same-sex couples would get married over the next three years if given the opportunity, which could mean a $182.2 million infusion to the state’s economy. That’s $117 million in the first year alone. The money comes from tax revenue when couples file jointly, marriage license fees, and sales tax from weddings, celebrations and tourism.
Gay marriage brings jobs, too, the report shows. All those cakes, photographers, wedding planners, and tourist services could generate as many as 2,626 jobs for Floridians in need of work.
And those estimates are conservative, say authors E.G. Fitzgerald, Christy Mallory and M.V. Lee Badgett: “In other words, all assumptions are cautious and, given the range of possibilities, likely produce revenue impacts on the lower bound,” they write in the summary of their study.
The report jibes with a 2009 study on marriage equality in Maine, which found that allowing same-sex couples to marry would boost the state budget by $60 million over three years, and create 1,000 jobs. In New York City alone, the passage of the Marriage Equality Act generated $259 million for the city’s coffers.
The positive economic ripple effects go beyond the immediate benefits of taxes and jobs. Richard Florida has argued that workers and businesses are drawn to geographic areas where they find tolerant policies and attitudes. This is especially true of the kinds of creative people who can really make an impact in the business realm. They put down roots in the community and contribute not only to economic, but social stability.
The fact that businesses stand to benefit when same-sex couples are permitted to marry is one of the key reasons why a sea change in social policy is occurring.
Continue at Alternet »>