The Economic Impact of Extending Marriage to Same-Sex Couples in Washington State

By Angeliki Kastanis, M.V. Lee Badgett, Jody L. Herman
January 2012

This report estimates that approximately 9,500 in-state same-sex couples will choose to marry in the three years following an opening of marriage to same-sex couples in Washington State. The total spending on wedding arrangements and tourism by resident same-sex couples and their guests will add an estimated $88 million boost to the state and local economy of Washington over the course of three years, with a $57 million boost in the first year alone. This economic boost is likely to add $8 million in tax revenue to state and local coffers, with an estimated $5 million occurring in the first year. As a conservative estimate, 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. This modified increase in spending would translate to $1.6 million in tax revenue. This report does not include spending estimates for out-of-state same-sex couples that might travel to Washington in order to marry, spending additional funds on wedding planning and tourism during their brief stay.

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