In the year since the US Supreme Court's landmark decision guaranteeing marriage equality, weddings with same-sex couples have contributed a $1.58 billion boost to the national economy.
According to a study conducted by the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA Law dedicated to research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, an estimated 123,000 same-sex couples in the US have married since the SCOTUS decision last June. The study estimates the impact of these marriages on state and local economies, sales tax, and job creation; according to its findings, increased revenue from wedding expenses has created as many as 18,900 jobs in the last year.
Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, agrees that his industry has benefitted from same-sex weddings. In an email, he told Broadly, "Same-sex marriage has certainly provided an economic boost for many hospitality businesses that get to host couples on their special day. It's created a new segment of business for the hospitality industry and another opportunity for us to help make people's important life events even more unforgettable. The extra jobs and taxes created as a result are a boon for the national and local economy."
In the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, the Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a fundamental right for all, including those in the LGBT community, guaranteed by the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Writing eloquently for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, "It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."
Brian Silva, the executive director of Marriage Equality USA, spoke with Broadly about the study's positive findings. "We've spoken about the positive impact for business of marriage equality," he said. "This study provides actionable data to show that what we have been saying is correct."
However, we still have a long way to go as a nation: Silva noted that in 33 states across the country, members of the LGBT community can still legally be fired, denied housing, or kicked out of a restaurant. "The study shows that ethical policy decisions have a positive impact on business, which is big and important part of the discussion. Marriage equality has changed the conversation and opened people's eyes, and we must continue to fight for legislation that creates full equality."