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Oct 9, 2014

STUDY: Extending Marriage Equality to Same-Sex Couples Could Add Over $64 Million to NC Economy

LOS ANGELES, C.A. (October 9, 2014) — Extending marriage to same-sex couples in North Carolina would generate an estimated $64.4 million in spending to the state economy, according to a new study authored by Williams Distinguished Scholar, M.V. Lee Badgett; Williams Gleason Kettel Summer Fellow, Justin M. O’Neill; and Williams Senior Counsel, Christy Mallory.

The study is available here.

“This study confirms that all North Carolinians would benefit from marriage for same-sex couples, not just the LGBT community,” said Badgett.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the most recent data available, 18,309 same-sex couples live in North Carolina. Of those couples, the Institute estimates that 50 percent (9,155 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Over 5,859 marriages would occur in the first year alone, and bring over $41.2 million in revenue to the state of North Carolina that year.

Key findings include:

  • 9,155 in-state same-sex couples would choose to marry in the three years following an opening of marriage to same-sex couples in North Carolina.
  • The total spending on wedding arrangements and tourism by resident same-sex couples and their guests would add an estimated $64.4 million to the state and local economy of North Carolina over the course of three years, with a $41.2 million boost in the first year alone.
  • This economic boost would add $4.4 million in sales tax revenue to state and local coffers.
  • Spending related to same-sex couples’ wedding ceremonies and celebrations would create 215 to 646 jobs in the tourism and recreation sector for the state.

Analyses are informed by the methodology that the Williams Institute has used in previous studies of the economic impact of marriage in a number of other states. State-level data, 2010 Census data, and American Community Survey data were all used to estimate the economic impact of extending marriage to same-sex couples in North Carolina. Estimates do not take into account the impact of same-sex couples from other states who will travel to North Carolina to marry.

“Study after study has demonstrated that, in addition to significant revenue, marriage for same-sex couples also creates new jobs,” noted Mallory.

ABOUT THE WILLIAMS INSTITUTE: The Williams Institute is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. A national think tank at UCLA Law, the Williams Institute produces high-quality research with real-world relevance and disseminates its work through a variety of education programs and media to judges, legislators, lawyers, other policy makers, and the public. For more information go to: http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/. 

ABOUT EQUALITY NC: Equality NC is the statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians. 

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