Small businesses will enjoy a share in billions of dollars spent on same-sex weddings in Australia, an economist has predicted.

ANZ senior economist Cherelle Murphy said the economic benefits from weddings in just the first year after marriage equality is legislated will be at least $650 million, The Sydney Morning Herald has reported.

Florists, celebrants, cake bakers and photographers will be among the businesses sharing in the pink dollar boost once same-sex couples are finally able to wed.

Murphy’s prediction takes into account the number of same-sex de facto couples in Australia according to the last census, the proportion who would like to marry, and the average wedding spend—a whopping $54,000.

“The wedding spend by same-sex couples could be higher than the existing average, given their family incomes are on average higher than opposite-sex couples,” said Murphy.

Margy Osmond, head of the Tourism and Transport Forum, predicts an extra boost to the economy if couples from overseas choose Australia as a wedding destination.

“The Australian tourism sector is champing at the bit to unlock the pink dollar potential of same-sex weddings,” she said.

“In places such as tropical north Queensland, where the tourism industry has been recently hit hard by natural disaster and the slowing of the resources industry, the pink dollar could be somewhat of an economic saviour.”

Osmond said it would be not just marrying couples, but also their wedding guests, who would spend on expenses such as accommodation and tours.

Beyond the economic benefits of weddings and related tourism, ANZ predicted that marriage equality would indirectly benefit the economy by lowering stress and boosting productivity when LGBTI people feel more accepted in Australian society.

Jennifer Westacott, CEO of the Business Council of Australia, personally welcomed Wednesday’s Yes vote.

“Marriage equality has always been about respect and acceptance,” she said.

“The resounding Yes vote today is a victory for all those who have felt like outsiders for so long.”

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