The Economic Benefits of Same Sex Marriages — Down Under and, Potentially, Here at Home


Opening Marriage to Same-sex Couples in Australia Will Boost the State and Local Economy by $161 million: 

Tasmania’s economy could see a $96 million boost if it becomes the first Australian state to allow same-sex couples to marry.


Los Angeles, CA – Extending marriage to Australian same-sex couples would boost the country’s economy by $161 million over three years, according to a new report published by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. This estimate is based on a projection that 54 percent  — 17,820 — of Australia’s approximately 33,000 same-sex couples would marry. (And spend money on a wedding.)

Tasmania, in particular, stands to claim a large share of that $161 million should it become the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry.

“In addition to marriages by Tasmanian couples, an estimated 15,236 couples would travel from out-of-state to marry in Tasmania, resulting in an economic gain of $96 million or more for the state,” said lead author M.V. Lee Badgett, Williams Institute Research Director and Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Public Policy & Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The figures in the report draw upon recent surveys, estimating the total number of Australian same-sex couples and the number of same-sex couples interested in marriage. Notably, the estimates in the report are conservative compared to other estimates because they only include spending by resident couples.  They do not include spending by wedding guests or wedding or tourism spending by couples traveling to Australia to marry. One recent study that took this additional spending into account estimated an economic boost of $742 million.

“Given the range of estimates, we can predict with great confidence that the overall impact will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Jennifer Smith, Research Assistant, Center for Public Policy & Administration at the University of Massachusetts.

(Editor’s Note: There are more than 98,000 same sex couples in California, an increase of 46 percent since the 2000 census, National Public Radio reported in September. Over 11,000 of those couples married in 2008, according to the Williams Institute. If half of the remaining 87,000 California couples marry — and have weddings — using the institute’s Australia numbers that would generate $386 million in economic activity.)



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