Legalizing gay marriage would pump $42 million into Minnesota economy

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Legalizing marriage for gay couples would boost the economy in Minnesota.

A new study forecasts that extending marriage rights to same-sex couples in Minnesota would pump an estimated $42 million into the state and local economy.

The study was completed by Angeliki Kastanis, a Williams Institute public policy research fellow at UCLA, and M.V. Lee Badgett, a Williams Institute research director and professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

“Marriage equality creates a measurable economic boost for the jurisdictions that enact it,” said Badgett. “But if states don’t use it, they may lose it.  A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Minnesota means that many of these wedding-related expenditures will be made elsewhere.”

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 10,207 same-sex couples live in Minnesota.

Of those couples, 50 percent or 4,946 marriage license will be issued within the first three years after the passage of marriage equality, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere, according to the researchers.  They predict that those couples that will marry during the first three years— 64 percent of those marriages will occur during the first year, 21 percent in the second year and 15 percent in the third year.

In the first three years of extending marriage to same-sex couples, the study estimates that:

• The state’s wedding and tourism business would see spending rise by $42 million, including $28 million in additional wedding spending and $14 million in tourism expenditures made by out-of-town guests.

• Total state and local tax revenue would rise by $3 million, including an estimated $128,000 in local taxes. $2million of this would occur in the first year.

• The boost in travel spending would generate about 283 jobs in the state.

This report does not include spending estimates for out-of-state same-sex couples who might travel to Minnesota to marry.

As was seen after marriage for same-sex couples was legalized in Iowa, same-sex couples from neighboring states that do not allow same-sex couples to marry may to travel to Minnesota and generate additional spending on wedding and tourism-related goods and services.