Legalizing same-sex marriage may boost economy?

The study on gay marriage was clearly timed to coincide with the Supreme Court hearings on Proposition 8 and the defense of marriage act.

But that aside, it makes a compelling argument that rainbow couples and white weddings equal green for Illinois.

Patrick Bova and Jim Darby spent the past weekend at a wedding expo for lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender couples. But they weren’t just window shopping.

With their 50th anniversary coming up in June, the Hyde Park couple, who currently have a civil union, hope to have a summer wedding.

Those hopes hinge on either the Supreme Court making same sex unions legal across the country, or the Illinois state house approving a bill that’s already passed the state Senate.

Legalizing same sex marriage in Illinois could net the state $103 million over a three year period , according to new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA.

Of course, wedding related industries would see the majority of the cash and tourism would also get a big boost.

The study uses 2010 census numbers that show there are about 23,000 same sex couples in Illinois and it estimates that about half of them would get married if it were legal.

Those numbers may be hypothetical. But in New York City, same sex marriage is already paying dividends.

The city reported a $259 million boost from rainbow weddings in the first year they were legal, with only 8,200 marriage licenses issued to same sex couples.

However, gay marriage opponents like Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute say money shouldn’t impact laws about marriage.

This couple sees same-sex marriage as a civil right, but they don’t mind if money is the motivation for legalization.

It’s still not clear how long the Supreme Court will take to issue rulings on Proposition 8 or the defense of marriage act or even if they will make a rulings.

However the same sex marriage law that passed the state Senate is expected to get a full vote in the House.

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