By Drew Sheldrick
Australia’s ban on same-sex marriage is costing the economy more than $700 million according to new research by political action group Australian Marriage Equality (AME).
Using a formula developed by economists in the United States, AME’s figures were compiled by multiplying the average cost of weddings in Australia with the percentage of Australia’s same-sex couples who would marry if equal marriage laws were in place.
Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Alex Greenwich said a quick calculation using very conservative figures shows the cost of marriage discrimination is at least $742 million.
“The Rudd Government’s continued discrimination against gay and lesbian Australians is not only hurtful, it is also a very expensive prejudice to maintain,” he said.
“On top of [weddings] there would be spending on honeymoons and spending by overseas visitors who would come to Australia to marry.”
The last census indicated that there are at least 50,000 same-sex couples, however, the Bureau of Statistics admits the actual figure would be higher than that due to the way information is recorded. The ABS calculated the average cost of a wedding at $28,000 in 2007.
“If the Rudd Government were the good financial managers they claim to be, they would see that with just one small amendment to the Marriage Act, a very effective economic stimulus package would be unleashed,” Greenwich said.
US studies have shown allowing same-sex marriage would generate $US200 million for the New Jersey economy over three years and $US21 million for the city of San Francisco in one year alone.