New York Gay Marriage Brings NYC $259M: Why LGBT Rights Make for Good Economics

Legalizing gay marriage in New York City is more than a victory for civil rights; it’s also a big moneymaker. In a recent statement from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the city received $259 million from the increased number of gay marriages in the past year, which has equated to $16 million in revenue for the city. This is just further proof that legalizing gay marriage across the country makes sense ethically and economically.

Over 8,200 marriage licenses were given out this year to same-sex couples, which makes up 10% of all marriage licenses processed by the city. The average couple spent $9,039 on their wedding, giving more business to enterprises associated with the wedding industry. Even tourism saw a boost in profit; over 200,000 people visited to the city and spent an average of $275 per night at hotels to attend same-sex weddings.

Those numbers are not something the nation can afford to ignore. Considering that the U.S. economy has yet to fully recover from the recession and the government is scrambling to find a way to fix the problem, this could be a possible solution. In 2011, the wedding industry was worth $48 billion and it’s continuing to grow. Those numbers could increase even more if more same-sex couples get married.

Using New York as a model, if gay marriage were legalized in all states, each would see a potential increase in revenue. This is especially true for tourism since wedding guests would travel to attend these same-sex ceremonies. Granted, legalizing gay marriage will not turn the economy completely around, but it is another reason to pass the Marriage Equality Act nationally. Moreover, it’s evidence that money-minded Republicans concerned with the worsening economy can't argue with.

In his statement, Mayor Bloomberg also said, “Marriage equality has made our City more open, inclusive and free – and it has also helped to create jobs and support our economy.” 

Bloomberg’s statement reflects the sentiments of not just the city, but also of many people in the nation who want to see a more inclusive America. The legalization of gay marriage won’t end all of the country’s economic woes, but it would put an end to an even graver injustice.