Gay marriage may be a real revenue generator in California.
Our buddies over at MainStreet are concerned about the dollars and cents of the gay marriage (rather than the dolars and sense, it's funny because they're homonyms). And it looks like it could make some big bucks for California. According to these guys there are approximately 110,000 gay couples in Cali and 35% of these couples may get hitched within the first year of gay marriage being sanctioned (June 16th 5:01 PM). And they project that these gay nuptials will generate $1 billion in in-state spending. That is a lot of turquoise jewelry, rollerblades, and tasteful apartment decorations.
As far as the numbers are concerned, the New York State Comptroller projected an additional $247 million (before insurance costs) in spending from gay marriages in 3 years and they estimate that NY has about 50,000 gay couples. While that makes $1 billion seem a little pie-in-the-sky it can't really be wildly off the mark. If there are 110,000 gay couples in CA and 35% of them get married within 3 years, that would mean that the spend on each wedding is about $26,000. The wedding cartels would have us believe that the average US wedding costs about $28,000, so it sounds pretty reasonable to us. It's spend per wedding is about twice that of NY, but maybe someone just reckons that the uptight West Coast gays care more about making it official than they're laidback East Coast homies.
Furthermore, married couples, particularly those without children, have more disposable income and a smaller, ugh, carbon footprint. On top of all that, imagine how this will help divorce lawyers. And if the anti-gay marriage referendum succeeds in the fall and the summer marriages don’t count but then they run a pro-gay marriage referendum in the fall of 2009. You can see how this issue would be a perpetual economic stimulator for California.
NOTE: Take a look at the NY State Comptroller Report. It looks like they're sandbagging a little and their gross numbers would be more in line with the Cali estimate. The 130,000 NY weddings in 2006 spent $4 billion (or $30k per) and if 1/3 of the gay couples were to get married, about half a billion would be generated. Some of it would be offset, per the report, by businesses having to layout more benefit money for gay couples. The report splits NYC out from the rest of the state because the 2 groups have a largely divergent definition of the term 'New York.'