Wedding Spending in Maine, Maryland, and Washington will generate over $166 Million in the First Three Years

For Immediate Distribution
November 12, 2012

Contact:
Lee Badgett, badgett@law.ucla.edu, (310) 904-9761
Laura Rodriguez, lrodriguez@rabengroup.com, (310) 956-2425

LOS ANGELES – The Williams Institute estimates that extending marriage to same-sex couples in Maine, Maryland, and Washington State will generate over $166 million in wedding spending in the first three years.

“This additional spending will be good for business, boost state and local tax revenues, and create new jobs,” said Lee Badgett, Williams Institute Research Director and Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Same-sex marriages will begin in December in Washington State and January 2013 in Maine and Maryland.

The new estimates are based upon Census 2010 data, average wedding expenditures in the states, and state tourism reports.   The estimates assume that 50% of same-sex couples in each state will marry in the first three years, consistent with the experiences of other states that have opened marriage to same-sex couples.

The new estimates do not take into account resident same-sex couples who are already married in each state or registered as domestic partners.  These couples may already have had a wedding or may spend less if they have already registered.  For example, if all of the 7,518 existing Washington resident same-sex couples registered as domestic partners were to marry or convert their registered domestic partnership into a marriage without holding a celebration, the estimated rise in wedding spending would be lower, or approximately $18 million over the first three years.

The estimates also do not include out-of-state same-sex couples that decide to travel to these states to marry.  For example, over 1,200 out-of-state couples traveled to Iowa in the first year the state opened marriage to same-sex couples.  Out-of-state couples would generate additional spending on wedding-related goods and services and, most likely, on tourism-related goods and services.