Phoenix Business Journal op-ed: “Equality good for Arizona’s economy”

CicelyIn an op-ed published in the Phoenix Business Journal, Cicely Rocha-Miller—owner and senior consultant for Life Design Event Planning in Phoenix—says extending marriage to same-sex couples isn’t just the right thing to do, but it’s good for business too.

Rocha-Miller says that the issue of marriage for same-sex couples is often portrayed in two extremes: opposition based in religion and support rooted in the notion that everyone should have the freedom to marry the person they love.

But, with a new study from the UCLA’s Williams Institute showing that marriage equality would generate an estimated $61.9 million for Arizona’s economy in the first three years, Rocha-Miller says a third perspective on marriage for same-sex couples is emerging: the business case:

If marriage for same-sex couples were legalized, roughly 7,900 gay and lesbian couples in Arizona would marry within three years, and spending on the weddings and associated tourism would net the state and local businesses more than $61 million. That’s about $5.1 million in tax revenue for state and local coffers, money that many communities need.

In fact, Rocha-Miller predicts these numbers are conservative, as the study only accounts for same-sex couples who live in Arizona. Our state’s many tourist destinations—including Sedona and the Grand Canyon—would certainly attract gay and lesbian couples who wish to marry from out-of-state. Colorado and Texas, both of which account for a significant portion of Arizona’s tourism industry, have yet to legalize marriage equality, meaning swift action in Arizona could bring in revenue from same-sex couples in those states.

It’s this undeniable boost to the Arizona economy that Rocha-Miller believes can and will be persuasive to Arizonans who haven’t given much thought to whether or not gay and lesbian couples should have the freedom to marry:

Our policy choices have economic consequences. For those in Arizona who do not have a strong view on marriage equality but do have a strong view on strengthening our state’s economy, the Williams Institute report points to a clear answer.

As litigation challenging Arizona’s marriage ban quickly advances through federal courts, we’re confident that support for marriage equality will continue to skyrocket as more and more Arizonans come to affirm that marriage equality is good for families, good for business and good for our state.