The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law has issued a study that says legal same-sex marriage in Arkansas would be good for the economy.
The study estimates marriages would generate more than $13 million in spending on ceremonies and tourism the first three years and produce more than a million in sales tax revenue.
Of course that presumes gay couples could find anybody who’d bake them a cake. You’ll remember that a baker’s right to refuse service to gay people is one of the leading arguments against Fayetteville’s civil rights ordinance. Surely we can expect the righteous Arkansas legislature to act to protect discrimination by the hordes of florists, organists, wedding soloists, bakers, hoteliers and others fearing gay cooties.
LOS ANGELES — Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Arkansas would generate an estimated $13.6 million in spending to the state economy, according to a new study authored by Williams Distinguished Scholar, M.V. Lee Badgett, and Williams Senior Counsel, Christy Mallory.
“This study confirms that all Arkansans would benefit from marriage for same-sex couples, not just the LGBT community,” said Badgett.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the most recent data available, 4,226 same-sex couples live in Arkansas. Of those couples, the Institute estimates that 50 percent (2,113 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Over 1,300 marriages would occur in the first year alone, and bring about $8.7 million in revenue to the state of Arkansas that year.
Key findings include:
2,113 in-state same-sex couples would choose to marry in the three years following an opening of marriage to same-sex couples in Arkansas.
The total spending on wedding arrangements and tourism by resident same-sex couples and their guests would add an estimated $13.6 million to the state and local economy of Arkansas over the course of three years, with an $8.7 million boost in the first year alone.
This economic boost would add nearly $1.3 million in sales tax revenue to state and local coffers.
Spending related to same-sex couples’ wedding ceremonies and celebrations would create 45 to 135 jobs in the tourism and recreation sector for the state.
Analyses are informed by the methodology that the Williams 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 Arkansas. Estimates do not take into account the impact of same-sex couples from other states who will travel to Arkansas to marry.
“Study after study has demonstrated that, in addition to significant revenue, marriage for same-sex couples also creates new jobs,” noted Mallory.