Pay it Forward, Iowa!

Money spent on same-sex marriage in Iowa lifts economy

If money talks, then same-sex marriages in Iowa are saying it loud and clear: A new report issued by the Williams Institute announced today that same-sex marriage arrangements and related tourism has boosted the Iowan economy by nearly $12-$13 million dollars in its first year of legalization.

A wedding, whether gay or straight, is an expensive affair. And Iowa’s economy’s got the boost to prove it.

According to state records, at least 2,099 same-sex couples got hitched this year. Of these, 866 were Iowa residents and 1,233 came from elsewhere. Due to their matrimonial spending, a $850,000 to $930,000 is likely to have been added in tax revenue to state and local coffers. “People spend a lot of money on this important day. We used very low estimates of how much these same-sex couples spent, but it adds up to significant new spending for Iowa’s wedding industry,” says M. V. Lee Badgett, study co-author and research director of the Williams Institute.

Iowans should welcome this economic shot in the arm, even if some don’t approve of its source. After all, it’s not as easy to disagree with something that’s adding a couple extra coins to your jar.

This finding could also have an impact on Iowa’s upcoming Republican presidential caucus on January 3. As the first state to choose a nominee to run against President Obama, Iowa is where all the fun begins—and Republican candidates will be laying down the big bucks in an attempt to get a steady head start on their ballots.

Will Iowans take note that the legalization of same-sex marriage has significantly enhanced their economy over the last year? Or will they eat from the palms of Republican candidates, forgetting about us gays and our weddings and our willingness to spend thousands of dollars on lady cake toppers? We’ll hope for the latter.

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