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Gay marriages create wedding-related jobs
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Gay marriages create wedding-related jobs

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

A new study by the nonprofit Williams Institute predicts that legalizing same-sex marriage will create 700 jobs and contribute $52.2 million over the next three years to the Washington, D.C. economy.

As the first same-sex couples married in the nation's capitol, local officials said the historic event had a profound practical implication for a city grappling with 12% unemployment: an influx of wedding-related jobs.

When most people think of marriage, they don't think of the cost. But ask anyone who has had one, and they'll tell you a wedding isn't the cheapest party to throw. After thousands of same-sex marriages took place in Washington, D.C. and the numbers started rolling in, city, hotel, and wedding-planning officials were laughing all the way to the bank. The truth is, Gays were outspending their heterosexual counterparts by thousands of dollars.

According to the Wedding Report, a market research firm, the average heterosexual wedding cost $19,000 in 2009. In Washington, D.C., that number was closer to $40,000. In the past, it was estimated that Gay marriages would cost half of traditional marriages because they would be smaller. However, the lucrative market for Gay weddings has become tough to resist, particularly because in places where same-sex marriages are legal, hundreds come from out of state to wed.

The Williams Institute study says that 12,500 same-sex couples are expected to travel to the District in three years - particularly from New York - boosting the economy by the millions and contributing $3.8 million in taxes.

Other reports similarly estimate that Gay marriage is good for the economy. A 2004 Congressional Budget Office report estimated that legalizing same-sex marriage across the country would generate a staggering $1 billion annually in new federal revenue through taxes and other fees.

Forbes has estimated that same-sex marriage would be a $16.8 billion national market.

Thousands of miles away and on the opposite coast, Williams Institute researchers at UCLA have said same-sex weddings would create hundreds of new jobs and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into California's economy. The 2008 study projected Gay couples would spend $684 million on flowers, cakes, hotels, photographers, and other wedding services over a three-year period. Because California voters passed Proposition 8, the state lost out on a potential $64 million in additional tax revenue for the state, another $9 million in county marriage-license fees, and the creation of an estimated 2,200 jobs.

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