A new report from the Williams Institute shows that just one year of marriage equality in Iowa had great financial benefit for the state. In the 12 months after the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the ban on same-sex marriage in April 2009, wedding arrangements and tourism by same-sex couples and their guests generated between $12 million and $13 million in spending, resulting in up to $930,000 in new state and local tax revenues.
About 59 percent of the same-sex couples who married in that first year were from outside Iowa, but mostly from neighboring states in the Midwest. Because the state implements a three-day waiting period to receive a marriage license, these couples may have contributed even greater boosts through tourism if they spent those days in Iowa. With the available data, the authors of the report estimate that marriage equality helped create between 59 and 70 new jobs in the travel industry.
One Iowa weighs in: “These figures are more than dollars and cents, they represent people who are working today because of the historic Varnum ruling. Our opponents continue to try and take away marriage equality and erase the financial impact that marriage has on our communities and our state. But it begs the question – 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?” asked Troy Price, One Iowa Executive Director.