How Big Will Calif.'s Tourism Windfall Be in Post-Prop. 8 World?

6.27.2013

By Neal Broverman

The state could be rolling in lots of extra dough in just a few weeks.

Equality, fidelity, and love: all things emboldened by the Supreme Court allowing same-sex marriage to return to California. But don't forget another important factor: money.

Over the next three years, 37,000 same-sex couples are expected to wed in California and could generate $492 million in revenue for the state's businesses, the Los Angeles Times reports. Cake bakers, hotel operators, and taxi drivers could see a boost, especially since California is already a popular travel destination and will be even more so now. Another thing to remember is that for same-sex couples, the only other Western state with marriage equality is Washington. So, if you live in Nevada, Texas, or even Illinois, California could look like a good place to wed, for two reasons. One: Iowa, a mid-western state that legalized gay marriage in 2009, is not viewed as a natural travel destination. Two: the death of the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 should encourage gay people who live in states without marriage equality to wed in states that do.

The Times spoke to Joe Wolley and Jim Schmidt, a Nashville couple that tentatively planned to marry in San Francisco but were ready to pull the plug if Prop. 8 was upheld. Now, they'll certainly bring their 40 guests to the City by the Bay.

But it's not just San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara (pictured) and other California locales that will benefit financially from marriage equality: the state of California could see $40 million in tax-related revenue over the next three years, while the federal government could gain $500 million to $700 million annually thanks to the new marriages.

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