This week, Maryland could become the eighth state to approve same-sex marriage, a decision that would ultimately benefit all residents of the state.
The Maryland Senate approved the bill Thursday and Gov. Martin O’Malley has agreed to sign it this week. If the bill indeed passes, Maryland will receive the same benefits that New York reports to have seen as a result of same-sex marriages in the state, which include state and local tax money increases, revenue from marriage licenses and a boon for the entire wedding industry.
According to the New York Clerk’s Office, the state’s decision to legalize gay marriages resulted in a substantial amount of income. According to the New York Post, “total revenue to the city’s marriage bureau jumped from $2.07 million from August through December 2010, to $2.26 million in the same period last year, after same-sex nuptials went into effect.”
The seven states that have legalized the marriages so far have seen a positive impact in their economy and serve as a destination for gay couples hoping to tie the knot. State leaders like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who refused to sign a legalizing bill last week after it passed through the House and Senate, should take note of the potential new sources of revenue that such policies could create in a time of economic despair.
According to the Population Reference Bureau, marriages of young adults ages 25 to 34 has dropped 10 percent over the past decade, due in part to the recession. However, marrying gay couples could raise these dropping rates.
The wedding industry as a whole would benefit from legalizing same-sex marriage. Disc jockeys, catering companies, restaurants and venues would all see more business come their way.
According to the Huffington Post, a 2009 University of California, Los Angeles study showed that Massachusetts same-sex marriages brought more than $100 million into the state since 2004, and it projected a boost in the California economy by almost $700 million during the next three years, thanks to resident and out-of-state tourism and wedding ceremonies.
If Maryland becomes the eighth state to legalize gay marriage, it will see these positive gains in its economy as well. While still a controversial issue morally, one cannot argue with the numbers economically. O’Malley seems excited to sign the bill, and rightfully so. Adding revenue in a time of recession can never be a bad thing.
Thomas Powers is a junior majoring in creative writing.