A new report says legalizing same-sex marriage in Georgia would result in a $78 million boost to the state’s economy.
The study, done by researchers at the Williams Institute, a UCLA think tank, predicts an increase in spending on wedding vendors and tourism.
Researcher Christy Mallory says the numbers could be even higher.
“As far as Atlanta is a very welcoming city and hospitable to LGBT people, we expect a lot of travelers to go there to marry as well so that will be an additional draw that’s not reflected in this study.”
Plus, from an economic standpoint, the sooner a southern state legalizes gay marriage, the better.
“Anywhere we see in a region same-sex marriage becoming available in a state before other states, we expect out-of-state people to come and spend money in that state that they wouldn’t otherwise...so as far as being the first state in the south this will have a big impact,” said Mallory.
The study estimates how many in-state same-sex couples would marry and how many out-of-state guests each wedding would bring. The method is based mostly on studies done in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage.
In Georgia, 10,659 couples are expected to marry within the first three years of legalization. On average, each wedding would have 16 out-of-state guests.
Researchers estimate that the increase in spending would create up to 1000 new tourism and jobs and over $5 million in additional tax revenue.