Study: Texas Would Make Millions On Gay Marriage


A new study released Wednesday from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law found that Texas could make $180 million if it granted same-sex couples the right to marry. KENS-5 San Antonio reports that part of the boon that could hit the Lone Star State would be attributed to an influx of couples from neighboring states where same-sex marriage is illegal:

The study predicts that more than 23,000 same-sex couples in Texas would marry within three years if the state allowed them to. The legalization of gay marriage would mean a surge in gay weddings, the study estimates, creating a nearly $15 million boost to sales tax revenue over three years. The economic impact would likely be greater if Texas extended marriage rights to gay couples ahead of neighboring states like Louisiana and Oklahoma, because the state could become a wedding destination for same-sex couples, said Christy Mallory, one of the study's authors. But chances are slim that conservative Texas lawmakers would allow same-sex marriage unless the courts force states to do so.

The Williams Institute previously found that Utah could add over $15 million to its economy by legalizing same-sex marriage. Other studies have looked at the cost of anti-gay laws and homophobia, including one recent study that estimated homophobia costs India $31 billion annually.

Still, some conservatives in Texas argue against the logic from the UCLA study:

Jonathan Saenz, executive director of the socially conservative group Texas Values, said the study used a model that wouldn't apply to Texas.

"For 10 straight years, Texas has been ranked as the top state for business. It's no surprise that Texas has also defined marriage as between one man and one woman in its constitution during these same 10 years, since 2005," Saenz said. "California, a state that performs homosexual marriages, is ranked as one of the five worst states for business in 2014. Case closed."

Mallory, however, cautioned against this reading of the statistics, saying,

“[business rankings’ take into account a variety of factors that contribute to the state's overall economy, and do not negate our findings that marriage would boost spending in the wedding and tourism industries.”

Regardless of the case for equality, the likelihood of Texas voluntarily legalizing same-sex marriage is unfortunately bleak. Just this year, the state’s Republican party (which has essentially had a monopoly on all elected statewide offices for the past twenty years) decided the best way to mitigate anti-gay language enshrined in the state party’s platform was to endorse gay conversion therapy.

Still, gay marriage may yet come to Texas despite Republican opposition. A recent poll showed that a majority of Texans support marriage equality and three judges have found that Texas' ban on same-sex marriage (passed in 2005) to be unconstitutional


  1. Pandion says

    California is getting such a bad rap from the press, especially the right-wing “press”. But it’s undeserved really. It’s doing quite well: job growth is high (higher than the national average), the state budget is in good shape, the number of healthcare-uninsured people has been halved since the introduction of Obamacare. The only major problem is the drought.

  2. Roy says

    Please stop repeating, even trumpeting, these sorts of stories. What the hell difference does money make in this? Marriage equality is a civil and human rights issue, and should be guaranteed under the Constitution. It doesn’t matter if it makes money, loses it, or it’s a wash.
    If a study showed that marriage equality would cost Texas money, would that be an acceptable argument for banning it?

  3. Tigernan says

    Hey Roy? If you don’t want to come here, piss off – I really value this site and the stories it presents, which I often wouldn’t read about other places. If you want to stay low information, no one is stopping you, but please quit trying to take it from me.

  4. jjose712 says

    Roy: Oh Roy you are very naive. Nothing change some people’s minds as fast as money

  5. james street james says

    Maybe the point of the story is that Republican principles are for sale. Or that their first principle is to make money. How torn they must feel. “Millions? Did you say millions? Maybe we can force them to marry.”

  6. JSB says

    Dear Jonathan Saenz, executive director of the socially conservative group Texas Values,

    Numbers don’t lie, but liars use numbers. I’m thinking that your comparison falls into the latter category.

    I lived an extremely long 5 years in Dallas, Texas in the early 1980s.

  7. Chadd says

    “We banned gay marriage and our economy is doing well. California has it and their economy isn’t doing as well.” What an idiot! It is a huge jump to make such a simple correlation and shows how weak their argument is. What about Michigan who banned bay marriage and their economy is the worst in the nation or NY or Mass who have gay marriage and among the best economies in the nation. GOP standard ops – cherry pick your facts and hope no one notices.