Gay Marriage Worth Millions to California: Economist

Wedding spending, lower health costs help city, he says at trial
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2010 10:12 AM CST
Paul Katami, Jeff Zarrillo, Kris Perry, and Sandy Stier, the plaintiffs in the case.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Proposition 8 trial took a break from intangibles like constitutional rights and discrimination yesterday to focus on cold, hard economic facts: Gay marriage is a moneymaker, argued San Francisco’s top economist. Because married people are on average healthier and wealthier than singles, legalizing gay marriage would reduce health care expenditures and increase payroll taxes, said Edmund Egan. And the bump in weddings would line the city’s coffers.

Egan wouldn’t speculate on the city’s savings on health care, or the boon of a wealthier gay population, the Chronicle reports, but did suggest it could expect $2.6 million a year from taxes related to weddings. A lawyer for the Prop 8 campaign committee took issue with the numbers, which were extrapolated from the short period in 2008 when California allowed same-sex marriage. There was “pent-up demand” then, he says, and figures based on such spending are unrepresentative.

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