Weddings touch all of our lives at one point or another. If you’re single, you’ve probably attended at least one, or have even been a part of the wedding party. And if you’re volunteer or staff member in a faith community, then you’ve probably been to more weddings than you can possibly count. For all of these reasons, it makes perfect sense to assess weddings for their personal impacts on those involved, but also for their economic impacts in society. Wedding planners, jewelers, photographers, musicians, florists, caterers, event halls and sacred spaces all play key roles in these traditions. The more weddings that take place, the more money is invested across the local economy.
For all of these reasons, it should be no surprise that the prohibition of same-sex marriage in Texas is actually hindering the state’s economy. Here are the findings from Equality Texas…
The Williams Institute released a report today that marriage for same-sex couples in Texas would add $181.6 million to the state and local economy over a three-year period. The report predicts that 23,000 Texas couples would marry, spending an average of more than $6,000 per wedding. Up to 1,500 jobs would be created in the state.
“Overall these numbers seem, if anything, conservative for the long run,” said Dr. Daniel S. Hamermesh, Professor in Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, and Sue Killam Professor in the Foundation of Economics, University of Texas at Austin. “Further, marriage for same-sex couples allows couples to be better off – creating what economists call a ‘marital surplus’ which provides an even greater economic benefit.”
The Williams Institute utilized state-level data, as well as the 2010 U.S. Census and the American Community Survey, to conservatively estimate the impact of extending marriage to same-sex couples in Texas.
“The Williams Institute report affirms that the freedom to marry is good for business in Texas,” said Chuck Smith, executive director of Equality Texas. “Allowing gay couples to marry here would give an economic boost to caterers, florists, event venues, and others who make a living through wedding planning.
The above just talks about a couple’s wedding day, but the benefits go far beyond that. Married couples contribute more in overall tax revenue (via better retirement investments, larger goods purchases like houses/cars and saving), and cost less to taxpayers because they rely less on things like government healthcare, dependent housing, home health aides and Social Security. If one believes in being a fiscal conservative then they should also believe in marriage equality. It just makes sense.
It’s also worth remembering just how close the Lone Star State is to having full marriage equality. The only reason same-sex marriage isn’t legal in Texas today is because Republican Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott filed an emergency stay to stop couples from getting married. If Democrats were to win the races for Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, things in Texas might be very different. He’s on the ballot this November, so you have a chance to tell him directly what you think of that decision.
(image credit: GLAAD.org)