Could Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Boost the Economy?

    The hot topic in America is the issue of gay marriage, as the Supreme Court has been asked to rule on the Defense of Marriage Act and on California’s marriage amendment. If the court rules that same-sex marriage should be allowed nationwide, this will have an impact not just on the couples who wish to marry, but on the economy as well.

    There are currently nine states that allow same-sex marriage, along with the nation’s capital. Six more states allow civil unions between same-sex couples. Outside of the United States, there are 11 countries that allow same-sex marriage.

    Providing an Economic Boost

    From a financial standpoint, legalizing same-sex marriage could provide an economic boost that our country desperately needs. Don’t believe me? Well, in the first year after New York City legalized same-sex marriage, its economy was boosted by $259 million. This money comes from all of the costs associated with weddings, such as marriage license fees, wedding-related purchases, and the elaborate celebrations themselves.

    Likewise in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. The state’s economy received a $111 million boost over the first five years. Experts speculate that same-sex marriage could generate $1 billion a year for the federal government. In a time where our country has dug itself into more debt than it knows what to do with, shouldn’t our lawmakers be welcoming such an economically stimulating opportunity with open arms?

    Speaking of debt, how’s this for interesting: Vermont, one of the nine states that allows same-sex marriage, has the least amount of debt of the 50 states. Coincidence? I think not.

    There are over half a million same-sex couples in the United States, and it’s predicted that if granted the right to marry, half of those couples would get married over the next few years. Everyone knows that weddings mean money, which means stimulus for the economy. (Weddings also mean divorces, and lawyers are likely licking their lips.)

    Same-Sex Couples Make More, Spend More

    Here’s an interesting statistic: Same-sex couples out-earn and outspend opposite-sex couples. The typical household income for a married or partnered lesbian woman is $7,200 higher than that of a married or partnered heterosexual woman, and $21,500 more for a gay man, according to a 2012 study from Experian Marketing Services.

    Let’s do the math real fast. If same-sex marriage was legal in all 50 states, and each state’s economy saw the same boost as Massachusetts did — $100 million over five years — then that means $5 billion would be made over the next five years. Who is our government to deny these people a basic right, and who are they to deny our hurting economy that revenue?

    Put all moral and religious issues aside here. Same-sex marriage should be legalized, and these couples should be granted a basic right that our government has no right to deny them. Same-sex couples deserve the same benefits as heterosexual couples. They should not have to pay thousands of dollars of taxes on their health benefits when married heterosexual employees do not have to do the same. These rights should be distributed across the board — one standard for everyone.

    While some go as far as to call this a “gay marriage stimulus package,” it’s not too far off. There are simply too many reasons that same-sex marriage should be legalized. Let’s hope the Supreme Court can see them too.

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