Will Marriage Equality Turn Virginia Into a Gay Destination?
By Neal Broverman
A new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA's School of Law finds that Virginia — where a court ruling could legalize marriage equality — could see between $46 and $60 million over three years should same-sex marriage come to the Commonwealth.
The first year could see 5,000 marriages that bring about $38 million in spending for cakes, flowers, and other wedding necessities. The wedding spend over the first three years could generate 600 new jobs and bring $3 million in taxes to state coffers. Virginia has over 14,000 same-sex couples, reports the Williams Institute via MSNBC.
If a federal judge upholds a lower court ruling that struck down Virginia's 2006 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, the Old Dominion State could be the first in the South with marriage equality. The federal case begins May 13.
Many LGBT travelers feel comfortable visiting places that embrace them, so the state could see a benefit from gay travelers just visiting the state, not necessarily marrying in it. Virginia is renown for its gorgeous beaches, especially in Virginia Beach, as well as its storied history, which can be relived at Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello, and Mount Vernon. The state is also home to Busch Gardens, one of the country's largest amusement parks.