Gay marriage is not legal in Arizona but it could provide a big boost to the Grand Canyon State’s economy if it were.
Weddings and the tourism they would bring to the state could add an estimated $61.9 million to the state’s economy over the first three years with nearly $40 million of that boost coming in year one, according to a new study by the Williams Institute.
The numbers were reached by using 2010 US census figures that reported 15,817 same-sex couples living in Arizona. It is estimated, based on patterns in other states, that at least half of those couples would tie the knot in the first three years.
MV Lee Badgett, a UCLA law professor who co-authored the report, states: ‘This study confirms that all Arizonans benefit from marriage for same-sex couples, not just the LGBT community.’
The report’s figures do not include out-of-state same-sex couples who might travel to Arizona to marry.
Its findings have been embraced not only by the LGBTI community, but also some in the business community.
Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Joseph Gesullo thinks legalizing same-sex marriage will not only boost the state economy, but also the state’s image.
‘When you travel outside of Arizona and talk to people that live in other parts of the country and world, and they hear you are from Arizona, they think at times that we live in some kind of police state and we’re very discriminatory here,’ Gesullo tells The Arizona Republic. ‘But when you actually live here and see how close knit this community is, those things aren’t true.’
Cathi Herrod, president of the socially conservative Center for Arizona Policy, dismissed the study as ‘conjecture and economic speculation.’