Over the past few months, we’ve heard many arguments both for and against marriage equality, and as we keep up New Zealand’s campaign for marriage equality we need to push those arguments ‘for’. After the close of written submissions and as the Select Committee hears oral submissions, starting with Louisa Wall the other week, let’s look at one of the ‘for’ arguments, that is the economic benefits marriage equality would bring to New Zealand.
Badgett and Smith of the Williams Institute, produced a report for the Australian Marriage Equality campaign, detailing the economic benefits to the Australian economy should same sex marriage be legal. Their report, aptly titled ‘The Economic Impact of Extending Marriage to Same-Sex Couples in Australia’ (Badgett & Smith, 2012), reported there would be a significant boost to the economy by same sex couples spending in the wedding and tourism industries.
In addition, in July 2012, Mayor Bloomberg reported that the introduction of sex marriage had produced nearly $260 million for New York City’s economy. He stressed not only his desire for New York to be the top wedding and honeymoon destination in the US (and globally), with a long term goal of 55 million visitors by 2015, but also his belief in the economic benefits and additional growth that same sex marriage can bring. At the time this article was written, same sex marriage in New York had been legal for only one year.
Similar economic benefits to New Zealand from same sex couples getting married would obviously be reflected within the wedding sector specifically, but as well as this, there would be an increase to peripheral sectors, including the tourism and hospitality sectors. As an example, the happy couple’s wedding guests would contribute to the economy in this way, travelling within, (or to New Zealand, as an international destination) with general spending across the board.
Badgett and Smith make specific reference to the actual same sex couples travelling to other countries to marry. In the case of Australia benefiting from same sex marriage, they have referenced New Zealand’s three thousand plus same sex couples that could potentially travel to Australia, to marry there. If New Zealand passes the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, there is no reason that New Zealand can’t take a significant cut of Australia’s own estimated 33,000 same sex couples who may want to marry and would be willing to travel internationally to do so, so why not across the ditch, thereby boosting the New Zealand economy. Statistics New Zealand reported that of civil unions in New Zealand through to 2009, overseas visitors grew from 10% to 16% of total (same sex) civil unions registered.
Considering these studies and reported growth, there is no reason why similar economic benefits in these sectors, and others, couldn’t be seen here in New Zealand should the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill be passed in early 2013. So, if you find yourself in front of the Select Committee in the coming weeks, you might want to mention the economic benefits sex marriage will have on New Zealand’s economy, and even if you aren’t, let all those LGBT and same sex friendly businesses in and outside the wedding sectors know, that they will certainly benefit long term for being avid supporters of New Zealand’s campaign for marriage equality.
Photo credits: ASM