They say opposites attract: and in New York City, gay marriage and the economy have become rather involved with each other.
Tuesday marked a year since the state of New York legalized gay marriage, joining the ranks of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Washington D.C., Iowa, and Vermont. Now Mayor Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn report that the new legislation helped the city rake in $259 million in tourism and government fees.
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Quinn, who benefited from the bill by marrying her partner, Kim Catullo, on May 19, said that the economic side was not the most important part of the measure. “What you can’t quantify is just the joy that has happened in New York City,” she said. “What better thing could government do than pass laws that make people equal?” she told reporters. But, come on, Speaker Quinn: that nice chunk of cash doesn’t hurt, either.
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Soon after passing the law legalizing gay marriage, New York began the “NYC I Do” marketing campaign to draw couples of every orientation to get married in the city. Or at least honeymoon at The Plaza, as is every bride’s dream, right? Promotions included hotel packages and lists of gay-friendly business who could help with the planning process.
And it would appear the campaign was very attractive: Over 8,000 marriage licenses were registered to gay couples in the last year, meaning more than 10% of the 75,000 wedding licenses issued in the city were for same-sex marriages. Beyond basic government money, the new law brought in over 200,000 tourists to celebrate the marriages. That meant 235,000 hotel rooms booked at an average rate of $275, the mayor’s statement said. And we have no idea if that includes all the fabulous wedding gifts people bought.
While Quinn may have downplayed the economic significance of the bill, Mayor Bloomberg had no shame in highlighting NYC’s love-induced economic bump: “Marriage equality has made our city more open, inclusive and free — and it has also helped to create jobs and support our economy.”
MORE: Obama Endorses Gay Marriage: ‘I Think Same-Sex Couples Should Be Able to Get Married’