New Economic Study Finds Extending Marriage to Gay and Lesbian Arizona Residents Would Add $62 Million to State Economy and $5.1 Million in Sales Tax Revenue

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 10, 2014

CONTACT: Jeremy Zegas, Project Director, Why Marriage Matters Arizona,jeremy@whymarriagemattersarizona.org, 602-773-6009

PHOENIX — Why Marriage Matters Arizona, the broad coalition working to secure the freedom to marry in Arizona for all committed couples, is celebrating news today that extending marriage to gay and lesbian couples in Arizona would generate $62 million in spending to the state economy in the first three years and $5.1 million in sales tax revenue during that period.

The Williams Institute, a national think tank at UCLA School of Law, this morning released a full version of their economic impact report. It can be found here.

Looking at 2010 U.S. Census data on the number of gay and lesbian couples living in Arizona, the Institute estimates that 50% – roughly 7,900 couples – would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

Upon hearing that the boost in wedding spending will generate approximately 520 jobs in the state, local business leaders weighed in with their support.

“Marriage for same-sex couples in Arizona would clearly be good for our economy but it also would be good for families and good for our state,” said Cicely Rocha-Miller, owner of Life Design Event Planning, a Phoenix company. “Caterers, restaurants, florists and DJs—not to mention hotels—would benefit greatly from a wedding boom.”

“As a small business owner, I understand that extending the freedom to marry to all couples will benefit businesses around the state,” said Barry Cohen, owner of Barca Solutions, a Phoenix-based computer repair company.

The report does not include estimates of the economic impact of same-sex couples from other states who will travel to Arizona to marry; its estimates only account for the marriages that would take place in Arizona among same-sex couples who currently live in the state.

Advocates for the freedom to marry lauded today’s news.

“Marriage gives couples the opportunity to make a lifetime promise to each other and protect their families,” said Jeremy Zegas, project director of Why Marriage Matters Arizona, the statewide coalition that is building public support for the freedom to marry. “The fact that the freedom to marry would also benefit our economy and contribute to the state’s bottom line is just icing on the cake.”

Why Marriage Matters Arizona is broadening the dialogue with Arizonans about why marriage is important to same-sex couples and their families and why it is consistent with the values of liberty and freedom. More information on this statewide initiative –led by the ACLU of Arizona, Equality Arizona, the Human Rights Campaign and Freedom to Marry – can be found here: www.WhyMarriageMattersArizona.org.