Globe Gazette Editorial: Positive impact of legal same-sex marriage in Iowa

December 13, 2011 at 10:40 am

from the Mason City Globe Gazette.
published December 12, 2011.

Summary: A study showing the economic benefit of legal same-sex marriage in the state just reinforces that there have been no negative effects.

We doubt that anyone who is opposed to same-sex marriage because of “moral” or religious reasons will be swayed by some positive economic news, but it’s interesting to note the impact that the legalization of gay marriage has had in Iowa.

According to a study by the Williams Institute, a Los Angeles-based research organization, total spending on wedding arrangements and tourism by same-sex couples and their wedding party guests added between $12 million and $13 million to the state economy during the year it measured, April 2009 to April 2010.

That spending – by more than 2,000 couples who indicated on their marriage license applications that both persons were of the same gender – also added almost a million dollars in tax receipts to state and local governments.

In addition, another 1,000 couples did not indicate gender on their applications, so the overall economic impact might have been as high as $20 million, producing up to $1.5 million in extra tax revenue.

Now granted, any of these figures represents only small amounts relative to the entire Iowa economy or the entire amount of taxes collected in the state. Still, it is evidence of one more positive impact of same-sex marriage being legal here.

(The other impacts that are most important, of course, are the end of discrimination against same-sex couples and the strengthening of the institution of marriage by allowing more loving couples to take advantage of the legal benefits of sharing their lives together.)

In addition to Iowans, the study showed that many gay couples are coming to Iowa from the surrounding states to get married. Illinois was the largest contributor, which makes sense since it has the largest population of Iowa’s border states.

Iowa marriage law requires a three-day waiting period between the application for a marriage license and when the ceremony can be performed, otherwise we suspect there would be many more gay couples from all over the country traveling here to get hitched. (There are some options available to get the waiting period waived.)

Like we said, we doubt that this positive economic information will change the opinion of anyone who is steadfastly opposed to the idea of same-sex marriage.

But the thing is, in the more than two years that gay marriage has been legal in Iowa, we have seen no negative effects (except, perhaps, for the needless removal of three state Supreme Court justices, and the ill-will expressed by some people opposed to the right).

Troy Price, executive director of One Iowa, said the report demonstrates that “marriage equality has had, and continues to have, only a positive impact on our state.”

Talking about efforts to change the law and outlaw same-sex marriage, Price said, “At a time when people are looking for work and every Iowan is hoping for stronger economic growth, why would we pass a discriminatory constitutional amendment that would hurt not only loving and committed gay and lesbian couples, but our fragile economy as well?”

Why, indeed.

Since the law has been in effect we have seen no evidence that it has had any negative impact on marriage, on families or on society. It’s only real impacts have been positive.

Read the article from the Mason City Globe Gazette.

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Entry filed under: News.

Same-sex spouses lose big on taxes


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