If state legislators allow same-sex marriage in Illinois, it could add as much as $103 million to the state and local economies in three years and create close to 300 jobs, a new study has found.
The study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, predicts that if Illinois allows same-sex couples to marry, the state will see a surge in spending related to weddings and an increase in tourism spending by wedding guests from other states.
The report estimates the impact on businesses and on state sales tax revenues for the first three years same-sex weddings are allowed. It used U.S. Census data on same-sex couples, tourism reports from 2011, average wedding expenditures in Illinois, and data regarding marriage expenses by same-sex couples in other states.
The Williams Institute has also done economic impact studies on same-sex marriage in Iowa and Washington, and other subjects such as tax implications for same-sex couples.
In the first year of same-sex marriage in Illinois, the report says, the total spent on wedding arrangements and tourism by same-sex couples and their guests would be as much as $66 million. The low end of the first year’s impact would be $35 million.
In the first three years of same-sex weddings, the study estimates:
— As many as 11,525 same-sex couples who live in Illinois — about half of the 23,049 in Illinois, according to the 2010 Census — would choose to marry. (The report did not include spending estimates for out-of-state same-sex couples who might travel to Illinois to marry.)
— The state’s wedding business would see an increase of $74 million, and an increase of $29 million would be seen in tourism expenditures by out-of-town guests over the same period.
— Total state and local tax revenue would rise by $8.5 million, including an estimated $1-2 million in local sales taxes. The first year would produce $5.4 million of the increase.
— The boost in wedding spending will generate about 281 new jobs.
Other findings include an expected 16 guests per same-sex marriage, each of whom would spend about $155 per day during their visit. This translates to 184,400 wedding guests in three years, spending a total of $28.6 million.
The report also determined that over the first three years, 5,472 couples now in civil unions would marry, but without an accompanying ceremony.
Though the report did not detail the economic impact of out-of-state same-sex couples getting married in Illinois, it did note that Illinois is bordered by five states, of which only one, Iowa, allows same-sex weddings.
So it’s likely that when Illinois opens marriage to same-sex couples, and if it issues licenses to both in-state and out-of-state couples, the state will become one of several destinations for couples who want to get married legally in the United States.
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