Weddings are big business. This is an undeniable fact. Not only are they a business in terms of combining the households and finances of the two who are a part of the union, but also for the events themselves. Between venues, invitations, dresses, decorations, and all the varied vendors, it's an entire multi-tiered industry. And the same goes for same-sex unions.
According to a new study by the Williams Institute, same-sex couples have upped the economy by an estimated $3.8 billion in the United States since marriage equality was passed nationwide in 2015. That accounts for nearly 300,000 couples. Some of these couples — like Terell and Chris as well as Lily and Claribell featured above — have been featured in our ongoing Out Weddings franchise.
“Marriage equality has changed the lives of same-sex couples and their families,” Christy Mallory, state and local policy director at the Williams Institute and the study's lead author told Reuters. “It has also provided a sizable benefit to business and state and local governments.”
Of that money, a whopping $544 million was spent by traveling wedding guests alone and state and local governments collected some $244 million in taxes. These figures do not include weddings that occurred prior to the Supreme Decision, as some states had approved marriage equality as early as 2003. According to Reuters, 242,000 couples had wed between 2003 and 2015.
Around the world, Taiwan just celebrated the one-year anniversary of its ruling that allows same-sex unions while Costa Rica just made them lawful this week. The advocacy group Open for Business says that Costa Rica could see an economic increase of up to $592 million as a result of the change. The island is also the first nation in Central America to recognize marriage equality.