Main | Monday, February 23, 2009

Gay Marriage Worth $60M For Maine

A just-released study predicts that same-sex marriage would bolster Maine's economy by $60M over its first three years.
Supporters of a bill to allow gay marriage in the state released the study this week from the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. Opponents say the study has come out at a time when people are worried about the economy but that, even still, it's not likely to change anyone's opinion about the subject. The institute, which has done similar analyses for other states considering gay marriage, based its conclusions on a calculation of how many Maine gay and lesbian couples would get married in the first three years, and how many same-sex couples from out of state would travel to Maine to get married. They estimated 2,316 gay or lesbian couples, about half of the estimated number of couples living in the state, would get married if state law allowed it. Also, they believe more than 15,000 couples from out of state would come here to wed if they could. To come up with the economic impact, they estimated that Maine couples would spend $4,641 on a wedding, while those from out of state would spend $3,143. Also, they calculated that tax revenues and fees would generate $3.6 million, also over three years. Those revenues would come from state and local sales taxes, lodging and prepared-food taxes and marriage-license fees, according to the study.
A spokesperson for Maine Freedom To Marry said she finds the average-per-wedding figure to be "extraordinarily conservative." Maine's marriage equality bill get its first hearing in the state senate in a few weeks.

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