Virginia: Extending Marriage to Same-Sex Couples Could Add Up to $60 Million to State Economy

For Immediate Distribution
April 22, 2014

Contact:
Christy Mallory, mallory@law.ucla.edu, (310) 825-5847
Lee Badgett, badgett@law.ucla.edu, (310) 904-9761
Laura Rodriguez, lrodriguez@rabengroup.com, (310) 956-2425

LOS ANGELES, CA — Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Virginia would generate up to $60 million in spending to the state economy, according to a new study authored by Williams Distinguished Scholar, M.V. Lee Badgett; Williams Public Policy Fellow, Sheila Nezhad; and Williams Institute Senior Counsel, Christy Mallory.

“This study confirms that all Virginians benefit from marriage for same-sex couples, not just the LGBT community,” said Badgett.

According to 2010 U.S. Census, the most recent data available, 14,244 same-sex couples live in Virginia. Of those couples, the Institute estimates that 50 percent (7,122 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Nearly 5,000 marriages would occur in the first year alone, and bring up to $38 million in revenue to the state of Virginia that year.

Key findings include:

•  Direct spending by resident same-sex couples on their weddings would add an estimated $39 million to $50 million to the state and local economy over the first three years.
•   An estimated three year total of $8 million to $10 million would be spent in Virginia by out-of-state guests attending weddings of same-sex couples.
•  The total spending on wedding arrangements and tourism would generate an additional $46 million to $60 million to the state and local economy in the first three years, with $30 million to $38.5 million generated in the first year alone.
•  This economic boost would likely add $2.5 million to $3.2 million tax dollars to state and local coffers.
•  Wedding-related spending and tourism would generate approximately 459 to 595 new jobs in Virginia over the first three years.

Analyses are informed by the methodology that the Institute has used in previous studies of the economic impact of marriage in a number of other states. State-level data, 2010 Census data, and American Community Survey data were all used to estimate the economic impact of extending marriage to same-sex couples in Virginia. Estimates do not take into account the impact of same-sex couples from other states who will travel to Virginia to marry.

“Study after study has demonstrated that, in addition to significant revenue, marriage for same-sex couples also creates new jobs,” noted Mallory.

Click here for the full study.