If Texas grants marriage equality to same-sex couples, state and local economies stand to gain an estimated $181.6 million during the first three years, according to a report released by UCLA. That money would come from wedding arrangements and tourism by resident same-sex couples and their guests.
Researchers at UCLA’s Williams Institute, a national think tank dedicated to conducting independent research on sexual orientation, gender identity law and public policy, found that a majority of that money — approximately $140.8 million — would come from same-sex wedding costs alone.
Gay marriage advocate Texas Sen. Jose Rodriguez from El Paso asked the Williams Institute to conduct the study in order to quantify the impact of legalizing same-sex marriage in the Lone Star State.
“Although the injustice of denying the basic right of marriage to people based on their sexual orientation cannot be quantified, the economic damage of doing so is,” Rodriguez said in a release, according to the Dallas Business Journal. “The results are clear: legalizing same-sex marriage would provide a substantial boost to our state’s economy.”
To determine the economic impact, researches predicted that 23,200 same-sex couples — half of those estimated to be living in Texas, according to 2010 census data — would choose to marry in the three years following a Texas extension of gay marriage rights. In the first year following legalization alone, same-sex nuptials could add $116.2 million to state and local economies.
Additionally, the report suggests wedding-related spending would add $14.8 million in sales tax revenue to state and local coffers and would help generate between 523 and 1,570 full- and part-time jobs in Texas.
The Williams Institute’s findings were based on studies and tax revenue data from other states that allow same-sex marriage, such as Massachusetts, which saw about $111 million added over the first four years after legalizing the practice.
“Texas has a $750 billion economy, so $181 million is a percent of a percent, but certainly it would be a shot in the arm for those who make a living off planning weddings.”