Gay Weddings And California Coffers

two grooms

If California resumed allowing same-sex couples to wed, it could pull in some $492 million in business spending over the next three years, an economics professor has found.

M.V. Lee Badgett, research director at the Williams Institute at UCLA, estimates about 37,000 gay couples in California would like to marry in the next three years. About 49,000 nonresident gay couples would marry in the state in the same timeframe, she says.

Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker effectively delayed the resumption of gay marriages in California until at least Aug. 18. The state briefly allowed gay marriages in 2008, but voters outlawed the practice late that year through a ballot measure. Earlier this month, Judge Walker overturned the ballot measure, but hasn't immediately allowed same-sex couples to wed.

The state, which currently has a budget deficit of $19.1 billion, has lost millions through not allowing gay marriage over the last two years, Badgett says. That's mostly because so many more states have started allowing it, attracting couples who might otherwise have gotten hitched in California.

Compared to the weddings of two people of the opposite sex, most gay weddings are less lavish, Badgett says. "Couples have been together a while, in many cases have had commitment ceremonies before," she says. Fairly often, "parents are not helping htem pay for it."

Nevertheless, she says in-state couples would spend an average of $7600 on their wedding celebrations. Out-of-state couples, who typically have smaller parties, would spend an average of $4300.

Badgett won't be one of them. She and her female partner got married in her backyard in Massachusetts five years ago.



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