Sponsored by Forest Grove Economic Development
Home The Latest Could legalizing same-sex marriage boost Oregon's economy?

Could legalizing same-sex marriage boost Oregon's economy?

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

BY EMMA HALL

01.16.13 Blog GayMarriageThe Williams Institute of UCLA Law recently released a report estimating the economic impact in the three newest states to approve gay marriage — Maine, Maryland and Washington. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex unions in 2004. From May 2004 to September 2008, the state had a $111 million boost from gay marriage legalization, according to an earlier report by The Williams Institute.

The report predicts that wedding spending in the next three years in those states could generate over $166 million. Washington same-sex couples make up an $88 million chunk of that, with a $57 million boost expected in the first year alone. The impact would be felt especially at wedding and tourism-related businesses.

The Williams Institute findings are based on 2010 U.S. Census data and Washington's average wedding spending. It also assumes that half of Washington's existing same-sex couples will marry in three years, based on the rate of marriage after same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts. Estimates don't include the myriad of out-of-state same-sex couples that might travel to Washington to get married when they don't have the opportunity in their home states—including couples from Oregon.

The effects of same-sex marriage legalization are already being felt in Washington, even though it has only been a little over a month since the law went into effect on Dec. 6, 2012. Over 130 gay couples were married at Seattle City Hall on the first day alone.

Though Washington's same-sex marriage legalization is still in infant stages, the biggest boost to the economy is expected in the first year. By the end of 2013 it should become clearer if Oregon voters will follow suit.

Basic Rights Oregon will be collecting signatures for a 2014 measure this summer. The organization needs to collect 116,284 signatures to qualify for the ballot. Basic Rights Oregon decided not to pursue a ballot measure in 2012, because the "timing wasn't right." Oregon faces a harder fight than Washington, which voted for a statute change. To legalize same-sex marriage, Oregon voters would have to overturn a constitutional ban that was previously voted in—the 2004 constitutional amendment Measure 36 that prohibits gay marriage. Although nine states currently allow same-sex marriage, Oregon would be the first to overturn a constitutional ban if Basic Rights Oregon is successful.

Currently, Oregon does have domestic partnerships (approved by the Legislature in 2007), but supporters want full equal rights, and think that 2014 could be the time as more politicans rally behind the cause. President Obama is the first sitting president to declare his support for gay marriage and there are many openly gay prominent figures in government  (such as House Speaker Tina Kotek, the first openly lesbian house speaker). However, some supporters think 2014 would be a bad time to bring the controversial choice to voters, as non-presidential elections generally have lower voter turnout, as well as a lower turnout of young, liberal voters.

As Oregon's economy remains stagnant with unemployment at 8.4%, it remains to be seen if the $88 million spending boost in Washington will sway some of the 57% of Oregon voters who opposed gay marriage in 2004.

Emma Hall is web editor for Oregon Business.

 

Comments   

 
Guest
0 #1 Gay marriageGuest 2013-01-17 03:33:03
Come on Oregon, stick with the rest of the progressive world!
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #2 Yeah, sure:Guest 2013-02-05 00:52:33
But really it's unneccessary, all they have to do is target small conservative buisness folk and point their dirty little fingers, and lots of money will flow via the law firms......

Myself, I make a practice of supporting the businesses they pick out to rant about and bully!
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+2 #3 Short term benefit - long term costGuest 2013-02-15 20:38:57
We don't have enough time under our belts here in the US to make a determination about the long-term financial consequences of same-sex "marriage" but we can look to Europe where it has been legal for several years and see that the long-term impact on children and the economy is actually quite negative. When marriage is re-defined it becomes less important of an institution across the board and more children are born out of wedlock, which empirical evidence shows ends up costing the tax-payers and society a great deal more. Children do best with their married biological parents - meaning one man and one woman - committed for life. Economically speaking, we would do well as society to reduce the divorce rate and increase the fatherhood rate to boost economic standing. We pay on average $30,000 per divorce and unwed birth. Stable, healthy families lead to stable, healthy economies.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
-1 #4 Don't Blame 8 percent of the population for your straight glutonous ways like you did in Rome.Guest 2013-02-18 13:39:23
Gay marriage should be enacted because it is the right thing to do and is a human right, not because it may be lucrative.
I don't think it will financially matter much, the United States is financially screwed thanks to years of irresponsible consolidation and banking scams done mostly by straight upper class irresponsible bankers and leaders that have cost our society more in promoting their own family values then a single mother or gay man ever has.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Interview: Dr. Mark Goulston

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 10, 2014
JustListenBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.


Read more...

The business of running a food cart

News
Thursday, June 05, 2014
OBM1BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

What does it take to launch and run one of these mobile food businesses?  


Read more...

Community colleges and sustainability

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 31, 2014
sustainabilityBY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.


Read more...

South Waterfront's revenge

News
Thursday, July 24, 2014
MoodyAveBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Remember the naysayers?  Those who called the South Waterfront aerial tram a boondoggle?  Those who rejoiced at the massive sell off of luxury condos at the John Ross and Atwater Place?


Read more...

Updated: Disrupting innovation

News
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
070814 thumb disputive-innovationBY LINDA BAKER  | OB EDITOR

The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation  — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment. 

Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.


Read more...

Oversight? Or gaming the system?

News
Monday, July 14, 2014
AmazonBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.


Read more...

Why I became an Oregon angel investor

Guest Blog
Monday, July 14, 2014
AngelInvestBY TERRY "STARBUCKER" ST. MARIE

I really didn’t know that much about angel investing, but I did know a lot about the entrepreneurial spirit.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS