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Economy and Same Sex Marriage

Essay by   •  January 22, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  1,683 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,394 Views

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The unemployment rate is at an all time high, and the country has been is a recession for the last few years. Many people worry every day whether they will have food to eat or a roof over their head, while others worry that they may lose their job at any minute. Everyone is begging for something to boost the economy of the nation, but the irony is that they do not want to see what is directly in front of their faces because of the ethical and moral issues that arise with the topic. The legalization of same-sex marriage would bring a strong gain to a struggling economy in both monetary gains and employment opportunities.

According to the "United States Census Bureau" (2011), "The 2010 ACS estimated same-sex married couples at 152,335 and same-sex unmarried partners at 440,989" (para. 2). There are almost half a million same sex couples in the United States that do not have the right to get married in many states in the country. A report was issued using information from the 2000 census to predict the possible economic and financial gain for the United States if the estimated 500,000 identified same sex couples could marry. The information in the report estimated that on net, the impact would improve the federal budget's bottom line by $1 billion in each of the next ten years (Holtz-Eakin, 2004). Though that amount may seem very small in regards to the national deficit, that is a $10 million gain over a decade, and that figure is just a rough estimate.

The Congressional Budget Office report was only making a prediction of the possible economic gain, but it does not seem to be wrong. New York became the sixth state in the United States to legalize same sex marriage in July 2011 (Goldman, 2012). Since the legalization of same sex marriage was passed, New York City has reaped $259 million in economic benefits. At least 8,200 same sex marriage licenses were issued, and more than 200,000 guests have traveled to New York City to attend same sex ceremonies accommodating over 235,000 hotel rooms that average $275 a night (Goldman, 2012). As a result of this growth in travel and tourism in just one year because of the same sex marriages that have taken place in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has set a goal that by 2015, he plans to add 30,000 jobs and increase the financial impact of same sex marriage from the $48 billion to $70 billion (Goldman, 2012).

New York is not the only state that has reaped economic benefits from the legalization of same sex marriage. Iowa legalized same sex marriage in 2009 and since the legalization, the spending on weddings and tourism has added an additional $12 to $13 million to the state and local economy (Hartfield, 2011). It has also been estimated that same sex marriage has added between $828,000 and $930,000 in tax revenue (Hartfield, 2011). Had the state of California not repealed Proposition 8, the projected economic gain from 2010 to 2013 was $684 million, with the creation of at least 2,200 new jobs (CBS News, 2010).

Though there is the potential of gain for the economy and federal budget, there are still issues that reflect negatively for the economy with the legalization of same sex marriage. According to ProCon (2009), "Extending employment benefits to same sex domestic partners of federal employees would cost the federal government $596 million in mandatory spending and $302 million in discretionary spending between 2010 and 2019." Extending health and other benefits to same sex partners would cause the largest financial increase in both mandatory and discretionary spending (Para 2). For this reason, many people consider the legalization of same sex marriage a hindrance on the economy.

Also to be considered is the fact that marriage is a state right and even if the federal government legalizes same sex marriage, states would not be required to do the same. This could cause major taxation difficulties for same sex married couples. The couples would be required to file their federal tax returns as married, causing them to lose refund benefits but would have to file their state taxes as single. This, in return, could cause major discrepancies and possibilities of more labor hours for the IRS if the returns get flagged for the filing status discrepancies and cause the initiation of an audit of the returns.

Another issue that is prevalent when discussing same sex marriage is the sanctity of marriage. The definition of sanctity is the state or quality of being holy, sacred, or saintly. Many people across the United States believe the sanctity of marriage is between a man and a woman. With the legalization of same sex marriage, many people feel that their beliefs will be compromised as marriage will no longer just be between a man and a woman. For many people, marriage is a deeply religious and spiritual event with many parts of the ceremony reflecting their religious beliefs. In actuality, marriage is a legal contract that requires registration with the state, not a church, which is why

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