Estimating the Economic Boost of Marriage Equality in Delaware
By Angeliki Kastanis, M.V. Lee Badgett
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 2,646 same-sex couples live in Delaware. Of those couples, 50 percent, or approximately 767 marriage licenses, would be issued within the first three years after the passage of marriage equality, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Of the couples that could marry during the first three years, 64 percent of those marriages would occur during the first year, 21 percent in the second year and 15 percent in the third year. The report also takes into account the Delaware couples that may have married in other states. Delaware is situated adjacent to Maryland and near other New England states that currently allow marriage for same-sex couples.
The state’s wedding and tourism business would see spending rise by $7 million, including $5 million in additional wedding spending and $2 million in tourism expenditures made by out-of-town guests. Although Delaware does not impose a sales tax on purchases in the state, there would be a small direct benefit boost of over $50 thousand from this increase in spending through the public accommodations tax. The boost in travel spending would generate approximately 36 jobs in the state. This report does not include spending estimates for out-of-state same-sex couples that might travel to Delaware to marry, spending additional funds on wedding planning and tourism during their brief stay. Businesses and individuals also pay taxes on the new earnings generated by wedding spending, providing a further boost to the state budget.