Same Sex Marriage in Washington State

same sex couple

As of Nov. 6, 2012 same sex couples have the freedom to marry in Washington state. Image: David Jackmanson/Flickr/CC BY

Same sex marriage was officially made legal in Washington State last November. Now the State  is seeing revenue and increase in the economy because of this bill. Besides your moral or religious convictions regarding same sex marriage, there is no denying that it is an economic booster. The first quarter reports should be coming out soon, but just how much money do you think same sex marriage will bring in?

Projected Revenue from Same Sex Marriage

Besides the cost of marriage licenses, there is also the added benefit to the community of more people using local services for their weddings. These boosts can be seen in floral shops, wedding venues, even printing companies making invitations, and that doesn’t even account for the tourism the state will get from others looking to get married from outside states.

Last January UCLA estimated that legalizing same sex marriage in the state will bring in millions in revenue stating in their report:

“The total spending on wedding arrangements and tourism by resident same-sex couples and their guests will add an estimated $88 million boost to the state and local economy of Washington over the course of three years, with a $57 million boost in the first year alone. This economic boost is likely to add $8 million in tax revenue to state and local coffers, with an estimated $5 million occurring in the first year.”

Lining up for same sex marriage

Hundreds of couples have already married in the state, and there lines out of courthouse doors on the first day a same sex couple could get marriage licenses. The couples began lining up 8 hours earlier, enjoying an atmosphere of festive anticipation that was shared by participants and bystanders alike. According to the Seattle Times, “There were no signs of significant protests.”

Kelly Middleton and Amanda Dollente were the first in line, at around 4 p.m. The couple, from Auburn, Wash., have been an item for a year and a half, and have been living together for eight months.

Middleton told the Times, “We’ve been so anxious about this. This day couldn’t have come soon enough for us.”

The line grew as the couple waited the equivalent of an entire work day for the iconic opening of the doors.

The first license issued

The first couple to actually receive a license, at just a few minute after midnight, were West Seattle residents Pete-e Petersen and Jane Abbott Lighty, 85- and 77-years-old respectively. The couple has been together for 35 years.

“It’s very humbling to be chosen first. We feel like we’re representing a lot of people in the state who have wanted this for a long time,” said Petersen. “It’s hard to explain the thrill that we are really going to get married.”

Petersen and Lightly have been leaders in Seattle’s gay community, and vocal supporters of referendum 74. The referendum, making same sex marriage legal in the state, was approved by voters in November by a margin of 53.7 percent to 46.3 percent.

County Executive Dow Constantine personally signed Petersen and Lightly’s license, using the very pen Gov. Chris Gregoire used to sign the gay marriage bill in February.

Rare ‘happy thing‘ in government

County officials say they were happy to open at midnight and participate in this historic event. Constantine said, “I am so glad this night has finally arrived. This has been a long struggle nationally and in our state.”

The staff at the Recorder’s office said they were happy to open at midnight and stay open until 6:30 a.m. to accommodate as many same-sex couples as possible.

County spokesman Cameron Satterfield said, “This is marriage. It’s one of the few happy things that we get to do in government.”

So again I ask, how much money do you think the state is going to report bringing in this year from same sex marriages being legal?


The Fiscal Times
West Seattle Herald
Seattle Times

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