Same-sex weddings expected to give California an economic gift

Married couple Pam Grey, left, and Zoe Dunning kiss to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Proposition 8 at San Francisco's City Hall on Wednesday.
(Noah Berger / Associated Press)

Those upcoming wedding bells in California are about to spur a ringing of another kind.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal of a ruling that struck down Proposition 8, opening a path for same-sex marriages to resume in the state and paving the way for the “cha-ching” of California cash registers.

Over the next three years, 37,000 same-sex couples are likely to wed in California, generating $492 million in revenue for California businesses, according to a statement released by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law shortly after the court decision was announced.

“Weddings are enormously important events and that’s why people spend so much money,” said M.V. Lee Badgett, research director at the institute.

Among the businesses to reap benefits: those providing flowers, entertainment, food, hotel rooms and gift items, not to mention the travel industry that benefits from family and friends traveling to the state for the nuptials.


The institute’s estimate of same-sex wedding money coming to the state could be quite modest if New York’s experience is duplicated here.

In New York City alone, according to a report backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, same-sex weddings injected $259 million into the city’s economy during the first year those marriages were allowed.


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