In New York City, the legalization of gay marriage has raked in $259 million for the city's economy, proving that everyone, at least fiscally, can profit from equality. Many against gay rights argue that legalizing gay marriage would undermine the institution of marriage between a man and a woman. Others simply do not see why marriage is preferable to civil unions. But what if gay marriage stimulates the business of marriage, providing benefits not only for those who are partaking in the luxuries of getting married (weddings, hotels, parties), but also for everyone who is a part of the local economy? Advocating for gay rights is becoming increasingly fiscally sound, a fact which poses ideological conflicts for the 73% of conservatives who are against gay rights.
It is rare and wonderful to see social reform leading to economic profit, and Mayor Bloomberg stands proudly by the New York's decision: “Marriage equality has made our City more open, inclusive and free – and it has also helped to create jobs and support our economy." National legalization of gay marriage seems to be more logical now than ever, and those who oppose it are starting to seem stubborn and illogical. Who doesn't want an economic stimulus of love?
New York City, the most liberal part of New York state, has benefited the most from the Marriage Equality Act. More than 200,000 guests flocked to New York City from other parts of the state or country to celebrate, and more than 10% of the 75,000 marriage licenses issued were for same sex marriages. While the city has reaped the financial benefits of hundreds of thousands of hotel rooms, wedding announcements, wedding favors, catering, flights, and venue bookings, the other more socially conservative areas of the state may feel slightly bitter about this arrangement.
By being one of the first six states to allow gay marriage, New York has demonstrated that it is a welcoming and open minded haven for gays, who will be sure to express their gratitude by stimulating the city's economy. Recently, more businesses have also made the fiscally wise decision of advocating for gay rights. Kraft's Nabisco Brand released a picture of an oreo with rainbow filling during the week of the gay pride parade in New York City. Hundreds of Facebook commentators quickly supported the brand for standing up for gay rights, and pledged to buy the new cookie. But how much was 'Oreo' actually invested in social change? “What’s funny is the fact that people are congratulating ‘Oreo’ for taking this stand and ‘not caring about profits,’ wrote Facebook user Dennis Archer. “This will do nothing but cause an influx of sales, which Nabisco was well aware of.”
Companies are realizing that gays and lesbians are an untapped market for their products, and that few businesses advertise directly towards them. Gaypon, which developed from Groupon, offers deals on pre-bought services and goods marketed towards gays. Travel industry related firms have stepped up their marketing to gays, and many decoration and wedding stores have branches for same sex partners. Even Walmart offers a seminar called "Why Market to Gay America" for employees. Advertising in lesbian and gay magazines has become more competitive, as more people realize that gays and lesbians are loyal to companies that support gay rights.
Furthermore, businesses that outwardly oppose gay rights have become nationally controversial. Chick-Fil-A, which is, according to Dan Cathy, president of the popular fast food chain, "very much supportive of the biblical definition of the family unit" has become very unpopular among many groups, and even banned from opening another chain in Chicago.
While one could argue that supporting gay rights for financial reasons might seem exploitative, if more states and businesses advocate for same-sex couples, even if it is for profit, then those who do not will become outdated and ostracized.