Seeing Green: NY and FL Are Starting to See the Pros in that Rainbow Flag

This post is dedicated to one Rob C., my fantastic co-writer on our now-dead blog Queer Eye for the Micro Guy: because gay rights just makes plain economic sense, and he said it even better than I could.  (You guys can expect me to draw on QEMG at times on this blog, as well).

A quick shout-out is owed to the person who sent in his answers to my question “How am I practicing gender in my profile picture” under the name Silence Dogood.  Know who Silence Dogood is?  Or know how I’m practicing gender in that photo?  Shoot me an email at

So, what AM I talking about with the title of this post?  Oh, right: the fact that money talks, and right now, it might just be saying that gay marriage in New York?  Not such a bad thing.  At least, not for the economy.  Because while some conservatives are seeing red over the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in New York, a lot of businesses are thinking that they’ll be seeing green.  In fact, an updated report from New York City Comptroller William Thompson in May 2009 reveals that same-sex weddings COULD bring the city of New York up to $210 million over the next three years.  And that’s nothing compared to the $391 million same-sex marriage could bring to the state over those same 3 years, according to a new report issued by the State Senate.

Same-sex marriage added $111 million to the Massachusetts economy within the first five years of legalization, and that’s just Massachusetts!  Massachusetts is small, compared to New York.  And on top of that, New York is already the largest destination of LGBT tourism, creating an added draw.  But on top of all of THAT, a wedding in New York City on average costs TWICE the national average, which means even more cash is being thrown around than it would be in Mass.

Holy circular flow, Batman!  The wedding industry accounts for about, oh, $72 BILLION per year in the United States…and with gay marriage becoming legal in more states, such as New York, that industry is only getting BIGGER.  On top of that, the majority of businesses involved in the wedding industry, from cake bakeries to catering halls to florists, are small businesses instead of big corporations…aka exactly the kind of businesses all of our stimulus efforts have been trying to prop up, since they are the ones that create jobs, which in turn stimulates spending: good for the market as a whole.

Now, even if gay marriage doesn’t create QUITE as large a ripple effect as all the buzz I just described indicates it might, the fact remains that more weddings does equal more business for the wedding industry.  And that does extend to the honeymoon sector of the wedding industry.  A report released in 1998 revealed that at that time, 99% of married couples took a honeymoon.  Even if that statistic hasn’t remained quite that high, a vast majority of couples DO still take honeymoons to celebrate their recent unions (which, in terms of economics, looks GREAT for the tourism industry, especially hotels and airlines).  And we can’t expect that same-sex couples will necessarily not choose to be a part of this tradition.  In fact, some business-owners in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, are already establishing promotions for same-sex couples on their honeymoons, in the hopes of spurring business in their part of the country, capitalizing on the same-sex marriage wave coming out of New York.

So delayed applause for the New York legislature for getting that passed: it was about time!  And to all those who think that LGBT issues are just about semantics and are purely political, don’t forget: there’s an economic side to it too.  And purple may be the color of pride, but green is definitely the color that most business-owners, no matter which party they tend to side with, want to be seeing.


The Knot, National Center for Health Statistics, 1998 U.S. Census Bureau
BRIDES Magazine Reader Study 2001

~ by Randi Saunders on July 27, 2011.

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