Gay Marriage Makes Financial Sense

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the legalization of gay marriage in Washington D.C., and the Washington Post reports that in the past year, more than twice as many marriage licenses were issued than before — from 3,100 to 6,600.

If you're keeping track, that's 3,000 gays destroying traditional marriage by... getting married. (The number has never varied by more than about 100).

It's also a potential boost to the economy. The whole civil rights/equality/non-hypocrisy thing aside — because, well, duh — it's interesting to consider this angle at a time when restrictive social conservatism has been masked by the rhetoric of "creating jobs." To begin, there's the license — at $35 a pop, it's not massive, and if a gay couple was already in a domestic partnership it's waived, but that's still about $120,000 the district didn't have before. And, while we're on the subject, a benefit to the federal coffers:

"The CBO calculates that same-sex couples would boost Social Security spending, because the partner of a deceased worker would receive 100 percent of the worker's benefit. But the federal government would save money on Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, and Medicare," the report says.

Then there's the wedding industry! A 2008 UCLA study estimated that if gay marriage was restored in California, gay couples would spend $684 million on wedding services. Subsequent studies from the same UCLA Law's Williams Institute have estimated significant economic gains for other states as well.

All of these arguments are ever more relevant to the state adjacent to Washington D.C.: tomorrow, Maryland's House is expected to vote on that state's own gay marriage bill, and it's unclear if it'll pass. In 2007, the Williams Institute estimated the net gain to Maryland would be $3.2 million a year. So if it doesn't pass, we might as well call the legislators jobkillers as well as bigots.

Amendments To Maryland Gay Marriage Bill Fail; Final House Vote Uncertain [WP]
Same Sex Couples Lead To Marriage Licenses Doubling [WP]
Related: Study: Gay Marriage Good For Economy [CBS News]
Gay Marriage Can Help Economy [Marketwatch]