Study: Gay Marriage Could Bring Utah $15.5 Million in New Revenue

Utah couple

A new study by UCLA’s Williams Institute finds that legalizing same-sex marriage could generate some $15.5 million in wedding spending for Utah’s economy.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Researchers assumed that about half of the approximately 3,900 gay couples counted in the 2010 census would wed in the first three years, based on the response in other states.

They estimated an average wedding cost of just over $6,138, far below the typical price tag for a Utah wedding, reasoning that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples may have less financial support from their parents and families.

That estimate puts direct wedding spending at $12.1 million. Based on a 2008 report on same-sex marriages in Massachusetts, the Williams Institute assumed each wedding would bring in 16 out-of-town guests, adding another $3.4 million in tourism spending.

The sales tax rate of 6.68 percent means that the $15.5 million total would bring in more than $1 million in taxes

Said executive director of Equality Utah Brandie Balken:

"Utah needs to extend marriage to loving same-sex couples for all the right reasons, but now we know that the freedom to marry would also help many small businesses, the hotel industry and the state’s tax base," she said in a statement. "There’s simply no good reason for denying these families the protections, benefits and the joys of marriage."

Same-sex marriages in Utah have been put on hold pending a ruling by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. 


  1. says

    You know, it’s also that pragmatic argument we made in my church when the united church of canada allowed for its individual congregations to vote on whether or not the church would be marrying gay couples.

    do we want to be opening the doors to make more money? if not, don’t complain ever complain again about a lack of funds.

  2. Nanuq says

    Has anyone ever gone back to any of the states for which these high-dollar predictions have been made to see whether the rainbow wedding cash cow gushed greenbacks as predicted?

  3. JSB says

    You would think the Pro-Business Republicans would be all over this, showing support for all the sales revenue helping small businesses. I guess that would be too logical for them to understand.

  4. David says

    As a guest at quite a few Utah receptions, I have to say they can be rather thrifty affairs — at least the Mormon ones. We’ll just have to wait and see how many of these homo nuptials take place in backyards with homemade cupcakes for dessert.

  5. God is Dead says

    Keep your money out of Utah. Do you want your dollars to go to the bigots who funded prop 8?

    Yes, gay marriage will be good for business … in a state where Morons – sorry – Mormons hate gay people. Big whoop.

    I say let them marry their cousins and multiple wives. They’ll eventually die out from congenital diseases.

  6. Bob K says

    WOW!!! Either naive or meant to be ironic, poking at the morhole church.

    Utah is a quasi-theocracy, with many officials who are no so competent, but who agree to please church members.

    The Lotsa Dumb Saints church is based on heterosexual marriage and procreation, which is the ONLY way to become gods for eternity in the afterlife with all your ancestors and all your descendants . (yeah, a hysterical but clever scam)

    Since at least 65% of the Gay people were born to mormon families, their marrying would cause them not be able to get into the temples, and not to be able to join their families in the afterlife, as well as losing them many of their friends, parents, and siblings


  7. Bill says

    But Mormons don’t want men rubbing their pee-pee’s together. End of story. The comfort zones of ancient, soul-dead white men must be honored at all costs.

  8. Rod Roddy lookalike says

    JSB, the pro-business Republicans in Utah also attend church. As soon as they hear “the g-word,” meaning gay, they shut off their brains, as well as closing their ears. Political Conservatism, in the current form of the Republican party, may very well die, due to such “hate.” If the party does not separate themselves from the religious and other bigoted being nuts, their extinction is practically assured.

  9. Bill says

    Just in case there is any confusion, two different people are posting as “Bill” above.

    Hint to towleroad – the web form for posting comments includes an email address besides a name. If two comments are entered with the same name but different email addresses, display the names, to use an example, as “Bill [#1]” and “Bill [#2]” so people will know that the messages are from different individuals. The email addresses are not shown, so nobody is going to guess those.

    This would also make attempts by trolls to impersonate others rather pointless and might help eliminate that problem.

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