Researchers Believe Same-Sex Weddings Could Boost Utah Economy by $15.5 Million

C. Price
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Researchers believe the legalization of same-sex marriage in Utah might generate more than $15 million in revenue just related to the actual ceremonies, worth more than a million dollars to state coffers in taxes.

The figures are based on average tourism and nuptial costs gathered from data in other states where such unions are allowed. The Williams Institute out of Los Angeles conducted the study.

According to the report, approximately 1,955 of Utah’s gay couples listed in the census for 2010 could be expected to marry within just three years.

With an average per ceremony cost of just more than $6,000, same-sex weddings would offer a compelling financial perk for the state.

However, the amount spent on same-sex weddings is still well below the typical spending seen in a traditional Utah ceremony, the study notes.

Many gay couples receive less financial support from family members, which is believed to play a role in the discrepancy.

“With an average ceremony costing 

$6,000, same-sex weddings offer a financial perk.”

Improving the tourism industry

Another plus to allowing the unions would be the 268 jobs it is estimated to create in the hospitality and tourism fields.

In total, the report anticipates $12.1 million, with additional tourism revenue generated from the on-average 16 guests visiting per event.

The issue came to a boil in the state in December of 2013 after a lawsuit challenged the state’s definition of marriage.

This led to a federal judge overruling the ban on same-sex marriage in that state, the first such ruling of its kind anywhere in the country.

As a result, licenses for same-sex marriages were available and legal in Utah, but they were only available for 17 days until the state won a temporary stay on appeal.

Brandie Balken

Brandie Balken
Equality Utah

However, during those 17 days, more than 1,200 same-sex couples were able to tie the knot.

“Utah needs to extend marriage to loving same-sex couples for all the right reasons, but now we know that the freedom to marry would also help many small businesses, the hotel industry and the state’s tax base, said Brandie Balken, the executive director of the LGBT advocacy group Equality Utah, in a statement. “There’s simply no good reason for denying these families the protections, benefits and the joys of marriage.”

Photo source: kevinheslinphoto.com