California counting on money from gay marriage

“California is slightly red with respect to economic policy, and slightly blue with regard to social policy.” – Gavin Newsom

As the California Supreme Court’s decision becomes final today at 5 p.m. PDT for same-sex couples to legally marry, most of the weddings will begin tomorrow. County clerks in Los Angeles and San Francisco have ramped up significantly to accommodate the influx of applicants for marriage licenses and onsite ceremonies.

West Hollywood City Council member John Duran encouraged participants to bring bells to the weddings this week so freedom would literally ring out. This isn’t the only sound that will be heard. Cha-Ching!

That’s money being spent in California. According to the USAToday:

Many California businesses see dollar signs in gay nuptials…

A study prepared by two UCLA law and economics professors, to be released this month, estimates the state’s wedding and tourism-related businesses will see an increase of $683.6 million in direct spending over the next three years by same-sex couples.

Brad Sears, a law professor and one of the authors, said there are more than 102,000 same-sex couples in California. In addition, they estimate more than 67,000 same-sex couples will travel to California to marry.
Jeanine and I went to the “All About Marriage” town hall-style meeting last week at LA Gay and Lesbian Center and upon our departure, the windshields in the parking lot were filled with flyers and business cards from gay wedding planners, travel agents and florists.

According to The Advocate:
Heterosexual couples this year will spend $28,704 per wedding on average, according to the Wedding Report, a group that tracks the industry. But the real money is in tourism. Unlike Massachusetts, California allows couples from all other states to marry there. The more than 4,000 couples who married at San Francisco’s City Hall in 2004 came from 46 different states — and the Macy’s department store there reportedly sold out of wedding rings at the time.
Our state budget is going to get a boost as well. reported:
California’s sales tax is about 8.25% on average (it varies by county), meaning that gay marriage would potentially add over $200 million in revenue to government coffers over the next three years. Plus, hotel and rental car spending, which are taxed at higher rates, could yield even more cash for local and state treasuries.
Jeanine and I have talked about getting married many times. As I mentioned before, we were going to wait until after the November vote (please Vow to Vote No if you live in California), but now we’re re-thinking this strategy and will likely get married on our sixth year anniversary in October.

It still doesn’t mean we’ll be spending money on a big wedding. Until recently, we never thought it was going to be possible so in the last year, we spent money on our 40th birthdays as a way to mark time and commemorate something… it’s hardly a substitute for a wedding party, but it was an important milestone for each of us.

So if we tie the knot in October it will be a private affair. But it still means we’ll buy rings and probably jaunt off for a long weekend to someplace meaningful. Dollars spent. And that’s good business for California.