The Economics of Same-Sex Marriage

Legalizing marriage for same-sex couples in New York would have impacts beyond allowing individuals to make the full legal commitments to their partners that opposite sex couples take for granted. Marriage equality would provide economic benefits to New York State and New York City, especially in the years immediately following enactment of legislation granting this important civil right. The economic benefits would be derived primarily from the increase in visitors from other states who come to New York for the purpose of marrying or attending weddings.

Legalization of marriage for same-sex couples would also entail costs to businesses. In particular, businesses that offer health insurance to employee spouses would be required to cover same-sex spouses. However, this additional cost would be partially offset because many firms already offer coverage for domestic partners.

from Love Counts: The Economic Benefits of Marriage Equality for New York, Exective Summary.

I was listening to Doug Henwood’s radio show Beyond the News the other day, and he had a great interview with Lee Badgett on the economics of same-sex marriage. (I am always behind; this interview is from June 21, 2007.) It’s not that the legalization of gay marriage would by itself create an economic boom, but neither would it be an enormously expensive proposition, as some have argued.

Henwood interviewed Badgett on the occasion of the publication of a report, “Love Counts,” (caution, the above link goes to a .pdf file) by the New York City Comptroller’s Office. What’s important is the way these cool facts can or should counter the crazy myths spread by that small group that fears this sort of equality. Equality is an not a luxury we can’t afford. Badgett has a charmingly old-fashioned website, where you can find out more about her work, here.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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