January 14, 2010 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gay weddings could boost D.C. economy

An analysis released by the D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer estimates that as much as $22 million in revenue for area businesses could be generated by weddings for thousands of same-sex couples who flock to the city from other states.

The analysis calls the $22 million figure a “high end” estimate and lists a “low end” estimate of $4.5 million to be generated in D.C. and the surrounding suburbs through bookings of hotel rooms, banquet halls and other expenses related to same-sex weddings.

Total tax revenue for the city from same-sex weddings over the next three years could range from a low of $14,970 to a high of about $1 million, according to the analysis. The analysis points to a U.S. Census Bureau survey tracking the years 2006-2008, which shows there were 3,896 same-sex households in the District of Columbia.

“Based on the experience of Massachusetts, we estimate that 50 percent of all same-sex households in D.C. will marry in the three years following the legalization of same-sex marriage,” says the analysis.

“We assume that 25 percent of all same-sex couples in the Virginia and Maryland suburbs in the D.C. metropolitan area will marry in D.C. in three years following the legalization of same-sex marriage,” it says.

It adds, “We assume that 2.5 percent of all same-sex couples in the remaining states will marry in D.C.” in the same three-year period.

The analysis estimates that the surrounding suburbs are likely to share a significant portion of the revenue from same-sex couples traveling to D.C. to marry. “Fifty percent is our best guess,” it says.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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