There's no question that same-sex marriage is a thorny issue in Texas. In a state that is as socially conservative as ours, there are plenty of people who oppose the idea of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. But the state is also fiscally conservative, and a new study suggests that not allowing same-sex marriage could actually be doing more harm than good, budget-wise.
Wedding industry experts know that nuptials are big business, and a rapid rise in weddings could provide a powerful boost in spending in the state. The Williams Institute, an LGBT think tank, used information from the Census Bureau to estimate just how much Texas would gross if it allowed same-sex couples to marry. Assuming that 50 percent of these couples tied the knot in the first three years of legalization -- which is typical, according to other states that already allow gay marriage -- the boost in wedding expenditures and tourism dollars could amount to $182.5 million over the following three years.
The institute said this figure is more than the $166.6 million in combined revenue that Maine, Washington and Maryland (three states where voters recently approved same-sex marriage measures) are likely to gross over the next few years. But it could be a decade or more before Texas approves same-sex marriage or is forced to do so, especially because the state has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
One more wild card is the status of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which has seen a number of legal challenges already. If the U.S. Supreme Court takes up one of the cases in which a lower court struck down DOMA, the law could be ruled unconstitutional , breaking wide open the possibility of same-sex marriage in states across the country. For those who oppose any marriage that isn't between a man and a woman, the consolation prize could be a hefty bonus for the state in the hundreds of millions.
Source: Dallas Voice, "TX losing $60 million annually due to ban on same-sex marriage," Anna Waugh, Nov. 30, 2012
- Our firm handles a wide range of family law issues. To learn more about our practice, please visit our north Texas family law website.