How Gay Marriage Can Help Reduce the Deficit
Policy + Politics

How Gay Marriage Can Help Reduce the Deficit

Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

When you strip away all the religious and personal objections to gay marriage and focus solely on the fiscal and economic impact, you get an interesting picture. In 2004, the Congressional Budget Office issued a report claiming that “In some cases, recognizing same-sex marriages would increase [Federal] outlays and revenues; in other cases, it would have the opposite effect….on net, those impacts would improve the [Federal] budget’s bottom line to a small extent: by less than $1 billion in each of the next 10 years.” 

Hey, we’ll take everything we can get. 

Filling federal coffers isn’t the only benefit, however.  A study by the Williams Institute at the University of California published in Stanford Law and Policy Review in 2005 estimated that “the California state budget will benefit from an annual net gain of approximately $123 million during the first three years it extends marriage to same-sex couples—approximately $41 million per year.”

Hey, California will take everything it can get.

The more revenue states collect, the less the Federal government and state taxpayers have to dole out.  In New York—one of the states with the highest tax rates—gay marriage generates millions of dollars for the city and state. In 2012, wedding related purchases added $259 million to the city’s economy. 

A January 2012 UCLA report about extending marriage to same-sex couples in Washington State noted, “The total spending on wedding arrangements and tourism by resident same-sex couples and their guests will add an estimated $88 million boost to the state and local economy of Washington over the course of three years, with a $57 million boost in the first year alone. This economic boost is likely to add $8 million in tax revenue to state and local coffers, with an estimated $5 million occurring in the first year.”

Hey, New York and Washington will take everything they can get.

Money flowing into state and federal bank accounts isn’t the only benefit of same sex marriage.  All the benefits of a stable, committed relationship make sense for communities that value home ownership, stability, and participation in community affairs without the stigma of having a second-class relationship.

The final hurdle for many is the idea that gay marriage violates “natural law” – the idea that marriage was designed for the purposes of procreation and should be solely for that purpose. This tenet, taken to its extreme, mandates no artificial intervention replace the “nature” of marriage as a sexual union for the purposes of procreation.  Well, society broke that rule ages ago, starting with the pill. 

Remember the DINKS?  Dual income, no kids married couples.  And does “natural law” accept in-vitro fertilization?  Choosing the sex of one’s child? Amniocentesis? Viagra? 

Personal sexual choice became a way of life when legalized abortion, access to birth control and all the interventions cited above became available.  You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.