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Same-Sex Marriage Would Pump at Least $182 Million into the Texas Economy

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From the realm of obvious stuff that is interesting nonetheless comes a study by UCLA's Williams Institute that shows the simplest economic effect marriage equality would have on Texas. The study takes a look at the number of same-sex couples in the state and the effect their being allowed to marry would have on the wedding business. Shockingly, profits for the businesses involved would increase considerably if the prohibition were rolled back.

"Allowing gay couples to marry here would give an economic boost to caterers, florists, event venues, and others who make a living through wedding planning," Chuck Smith, executive director of Equality Texas, said in a press release announcing the study.

In the first three years after legalization, the study estimates 23,200 Texas same-sex couples would tie the knot. Most of those marriages, about 14,000, would take place in the first year. More weddings means more fodder for the wedding-industrial complex.

Total combined spending -- on the ceremonies, travel for out-of-state guests and spending by those guests while in Texas -- would be about $182 million, the study estimates based on numbers from The Wedding Report. In 2013 the Texas leisure and hospitality industries took in $65.7 billion and supported 568,000 jobs. Using those numbers, the study estimates about 1,500 new jobs would be created by legalization in the first year.

For DFW wedding vendors, legalization would mean less potential business leaving the state.

"The LGBT community generally leaves the state and gets married where [same-sex marriage] is legal so they can have it be legal," Pamm Meyers-Schatz, the CEO of local florist Bridal Blooms and Creations said. "People are spending money out of state."

Over the July 4 weekend, Bridal Blooms provided the flowers for a wedding in Santa Fe, New Mexico, that might otherwise have been in Dallas.

"Why wouldn't we want to keep it local and drive up our economy in Dallas?" she said.

Eventually, the study estimates, the economic benefits would level off to $30 million per year in measurable terms. The potential long-term benefits for couples who got married could increase that number, according to University of Texas economics professor Dr. Daniel S. Hamermesh.

"[M]arriage for same-sex couples allows couples to be better off -- creating what economists call a 'marital surplus' which provides an even greater economic benefit," he said in the press release.

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