Weddings for gay and lesbian couples bring millions of dollars to New York’s economy

A recent article in Business Week discusses some of the concrete economic benefits that have resulted for businesses and companies in New York State ever since the freedom to marry was extended to gay and lesbian couples in June.

As thousands of couples have married in the past few months, “they’ve been courted by florists, caterers, event planners, and other businesses” that are branching out to a new market, writes reporter Esme E. Deprez. Business owner Michael Watts has so far received 50 inquiries about his company “Cocktail Caterers,” up from three in all of 2010. Joe Rizzo, owner of Langdon Florist in downtown Manhattan, predicts to provide flowers for 125 weddings as opposed to the 100 or so before the change in law. The online jewelry retailer Hudson Grove saw sales quadruple this summer. 

But the benefits reach beyond the scope of New York City. The state economy is estimated to bring in $310 million over the next three years as a result of marriage for gay and lesbian couples, through license fees, taxes, and tourism related to the weddings. It could bring in an additional $100 million a year after that, a large portion of which would go towards small businesses. Some experts suggest that equal marriage protections were therefore necessary for New York to remain an economic leader. “It will become increasingly difficult to recruit the best talent” if New York falls behind other states in ensuring fairness and equality, wrote Morgan Stanley Chairman John Mack, Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, and other Wall Street executives in an open letter in April.

It's clear that extending the freedom to marry to gay and lesbian couples is not only morally and politically correct, but it is also economically beneficial. Click here to read more about the work Freedom to Marry is doing to pursue its Roadmap to Victory by winning more states, growing the majority for marriage, and working to end federal marriage discrimination.