Utah: Extending Marriage to Same-Sex Couples Could Add $15.5 Million to State Economy and $1 Million in State and Local Tax Revenue

For Immediate Distribution
April 24, 2014

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 Utah would generate $15.5 million in spending to the state and local economy, according to a study authored by Williams Public Policy Fellow, E.G. Fitzgerald; Williams Institute Senior Counsel, Christy Mallory; Williams Distinguished Scholar, M.V. Lee Badgett.

“This study confirms that all Utah residents benefit from marriage to same-sex couples, not just the LGBT community,” said Mallory.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the most recent data available, 3,909 same-sex couples live in Utah. Of those couples, the Institute estimates that 50% (1,955 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. An estimated 1,251 marriages would occur in the first year alone, and bring an estimated $10 million in revenue to the state of Utah that year.

Key findings include:

•  Direct spending by resident same-sex couples on their weddings would add an estimated $12.1 million to the state and local economy over the first three years, with nearly $10 million in the first year alone.
•  An estimated 3-year total of $3.5 million would be spent in Utah by out-of-state guests attending weddings of same-sex couples, with $2.2 million in the first year.
•  This economic boost would likely add $1 million tax dollars to state and local coffers.
•  Wedding-related spending and tourism would generate approximately 268 new jobs in Utah 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 Utah. Estimates do not take into account the impact of same-sex couples from other states who will travel to Utah to marry.

“Our research has consistently shown that extending marriage to same-sex couples creates new jobs and significant boosts to a state’s economy,” noted Badgett.

Click here for the full study.

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