Gay Weddings Worth $16.8 Billion USD

by Beth Shapiro Newscenter
New York Bureau

The average wedding in America today costs about $22,000 USD. Wizard's note: Mine never cost THAT much!

"If gay couples could say 'I do,' and assuming they spend as much on the occasion as their heterosexual counterparts, then such companies as Tiffany, Williams-Sonoma, Marriot International, Federated Department Stores and May Department Stores would see a serious boost in their matrimony-related business," Forbes reports.

Forbes arrived at its conclusion that gay weddings would be worth about $16.8 billion USD by looking at the US Census.

The 2000 census showed that 594,000 same-sex couples were living together in 2000, "so we figure that 92 percent of them, roughly 546,000 couples, would wed if they could," Forbes reports. "They might not do it right away, but over time they would swell the ranks of would-be brides and grooms."

The publication goes on to factor in the fact that when straight couples marry, not all of them hold a reception to celebrate the event. Every year, about 15 percent of newlyweds pass on the canapés and decide that a quick trip to City Hall suits them better. "So we eliminated 15 percent of our gay couples as well, leaving us with 464,000 couples likely to throw a party to celebrate their nuptials. Then we multiplied that figure by the amount the average heterosexual couple currently spends on such items as engagement rings, banquet halls, wedding dresses and honeymoons. Add it all up, and it comes to $16.8 billion USD."

George W. Bush and conservative religious groups may be pushing for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage but a new study shows that gay weddings are good for business.

Forbes Magazine says legalized same-sex marriage would be "a windfall for the wedding industry." The business journal has estimated that if the laws were changed, gay couples currently living together would collectively spend $16.8 billion USD to get hitched.

"Of course, they wouldn't all get married right away, so it might be several years before the industry reaped the entire windfall," Forbes reports. "But it seems reasonable to presume that if same-sex marriage were to be legalized, a large percentage of gay couples immediately would begin making plans to march down the aisle together."

The entire US wedding industry is worth about $70 billion USD-per-year, accounting for caterers, jewelers, travel agents and a host of other businesses.


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