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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Forbes: Quashing Same-Sex Marriage Cost State Billions, Earned Voters Dirty Looks From Caterers, Seamstresses

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge marriage_cake.jpg
If altruism weren't a good enough reason for California voters to enable same-sex marriage -- and, let's be realistic, altruism isn't a good enough reason for state voters to do anything -- a recent article by Forbes magazine predicts that legalizing same sex marriage nationwide would pump nearly $10 billion into the economy (we're assuming some of them would choose to have their weddings here in California. We're told this is a desirable place to be).

The magazine bases its billion-dollar gambit on research from The Williams Institute, a research arm of UCLA law school, which claimed that, if given the chance, roughly half of the nation's 781,267 co-habitating same-sex couples would marry within three years.

Considering the Wedding-Industrial-Complex is a $160 billion industry (though spiraling downward in these frugal times), the magazine figures that if half the same-sex partnerships tied the knot, you'd bless the economy by $9.5 billion -- even if same-sex couples only spent a third on weddings and all the delightful associated costs than their opposite-sex counterparts (which is often the case). Assuming you're not a California wedding planner or jeweler who just slapped himself on the forehead so hard reading has become problematic, click on the jump for a more detailed breakdown.

Here's that $9.5 billion, itemized: Gifts: $3.4 billion; reception and catering: $1.6 billion; honeymoons:

$694 million; photography and video: $554 million; Jewelery: $502

million; engagement rings; $444 million; Music and entertainment: $313

million; other events: $302 million; ceremonies: $281 million; wedding

planners: $268 million; clothes and accessories: $257 million; wedding

favors: $197 million; flowers and decor, $176 million; stationary: $154

million; etc.

In any event, you get the picture (and we didn't even mention the $65 million that would have been spent on wedding cake).

As Sacramento politicians consider some truly onerous cost-saving measures -- some of which, such as closing down state parks, may actually lose the state money -- it's beguiling to know that if Californians voted with more compassion, we would have been rewarded with a potent revenue source. In the meantime, we can still alleviate our woes by stuffing our faces with high-quality cake -- apparently lots of it isn't getting sold.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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