Gay Marriage Produced $259 Million For New York City Economy

Author: Henry Goldman
Publication: Bloomberg
Publication Date: July 24th, 2012

New York City reaped $259 million of economic benefits from same-sex marriages in the first year of the law allowing the practice, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn said.

At least 8,200 gay-marriage licenses were issued, accounting for more than 10 percent of the 75,000 wedding licenses issued in New York City in the past year, Bloomberg and Quinn said in a statement today, citing a survey conducted by NYC & Co., the city’s marketing and tourism office, and the city clerk’s office.

New York became the sixth and most recent state to legalize gay marriage a year ago after Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed the measure into law. More than 200,000 guests have since traveled from outside of the city to attend same-sex wedding receptions, and more than 235,000 hotel room nights were booked at an average daily room rate of $275, according to the mayor’s statement.

“Marriage equality has made our city more open, inclusive and free -- and it has also helped to create jobs and support our economy,” Bloomberg, 70, said at a news conference in Lower Manhattan.

Bloomberg has focused on tourism to diversify the city’s economy beyond Wall Street, with employment in leisure and hospitality growing more than 100,000 in 10 years to 362,400 in June, according to the state Department of Labor.

‘NYC I Do’

The city attracted a record 50.5 million visitors in 2011, and Bloomberg has a 2015 goal to draw 55 million people, add 30,000 jobs and increase the industry’s economic impact to $70 billion from $48 billion last year.

NYC & Co. began the “NYC I Do” marketing campaign after the same-sex marriage law passed, with a goal to make the most populous U.S. city the top wedding and honeymoon destination for couples globally.

In addition to New York, same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia, according to Freedom to Marry, a New York- based national advocacy organization.

Sixth State

This year, the legislatures in Maryland, New Jersey and Washington state passed same-gender marriage laws that haven’t taken effect. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed the bill, while opponents in Maryland and Washington have November ballot measures challenging the laws.

Quinn, 45, who with Bloomberg lobbied the Legislature to approve same-gender marriage, benefited from the law when she wed her partner, attorney Kim Catullo, 45, on May 19 at a ceremony attended by the mayor, Cuomo, and U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

“What you can’t quantify is just the joy that has happened in New York City,” Quinn told reporters. “What better thing could government do than pass laws that make people equal, repeal laws that say some of us are unequal, and give families the opportunity to have that once-in-a-lifetime moment when a father can walk his daughter down the aisle.”