Marriage equality activists have released figures showing that Tasmania could reap a windfall of as much as $136 million should it legalise same-sex marriage before the rest of Australia as the Tasmanian Parliament prepares to vote on a motion giving in-principle support to same-sex marriage.
The motion is expected to pass with Tasmanian Labor Premier Lara Giddings already indicating her party’s support and the Liberal Party allowing a conscience vote.
Australian Marriage Equality (AME) released the figures at the Tasmanian State Parliament in Hobart today, which show that 87 percent of Australian same-sex couples who would like to marry would marry in Tasmania if it was the first state to allow same-sex marriages, and that 60 percent of these would spend over $10,000 on their Tasmanian wedding and honeymoon.
AME arrived at the figure by polling same-sex couples who wish to marry and then combining that data with numbers from a University of Queensland study that estimated there were close to 26,500 same-sex couples in Australia who would marry if given the chance.
AME national convenor Alex Greenwich said Tasmania could expect a similar windfall to those seen in states that had legalised same sex marriage in the United States.
“Should the Federal Government not act and Tasmania goes it alone becoming the first state in Australia with same-sex marriage, it can expect to benefit from a massive economic windfall similar to US states which have pioneered on this issue,” Greenwich said.
“For example, New York State is predicted to gain a $1 billion injection from allowing same-sex marriages.
“Small business will benefit from the wedding spend of same-sex couples from across the nation and on top of that Tasmania will benefit from an increase in immigration from the highly-skilled creative class. Marriage equality costs nothing, benefits the economy, and creates jobs…what other piece of legislation would does that?”
Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim has pledged to bring legislation creating marriage equality under state law before the Tasmanian Parliament if the federal Parliament fails to act on the issue before year’s end.
Prominent figures from the wedding industry backed the move. Bride Tasmania editor Steve Mihalenko said legalising same-sex marriage would increase the number of couples marrying in Tasmania by 700 percent
“The impact would be spread across a wide and diverse range of small businesses from the obvious ones like celebrants, dress makers, florists and photographers through to accommodation, food and wine, gifts, advertising and travel,” Mihalenko said, “This is smart economics”
Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants past vice president Maxine Lowry also backed the move as did University of Tasmania economist Dr Bruce Felmingham.
“There are economic benefits that would flow by having Tasmania at the top of queue on same-sex marriages,” Dr Felmingham said, “Look at the gains made by the California economy from being the first cab off the rank in recognising same-sex marriages as legitimate.”