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Friday, June 20, 2008

Pressure Mounting On NJ Lawmakers To Legalize Gay Marriage

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: June 20, 2008 - 11:00 am ET

(Trenton, New Jersey) LGBT rights activists are stepping up their pressure on New Jersey lawmakers to take up legislation that would convert the state's civil unions law to provide for marriage.

The decision by the California Supreme Court to allow same-sex marriage has helped in the fight and a study released Friday will likely add to the argument that allowing gays and lesbians to marry is not only a matter of equal rights but also is good business.

The study, released by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law examined the potential economic gains that same-sex couples' weddings would bring to New Jersey.
Presently California stands as the sole recipient of the same-sex tourism and wedding windfall because, unlike Massachusetts which limits marriage licenses only to people from areas where the marriages would be legal, California has opened the marriage gate to same-sex couples from across the country.

If New Jersey extended marriage to same-sex couples it could share in that windfall, the Williams Institute study said. The New Jersey wedding industry will receive a substantial $248 million boost in direct spending by same-sex couples over the next three years, the study said.
It predicts that, based on the experience of Massachusetts, half of New Jerseys 21,178 same-sex couples will want to marry, leading to 10,589 weddings. Another 45,831 out-of-state couples are likely to travel to New Jersey to marry.

This economic lift will also likely generate over 800 new jobs in the state the study found.
"In a tough economic climate, marriage can directly benefit the New Jersey budget in a direct, tangible, and substantial way," said economist M.V. Lee Badgett, co-author of the study and research director of The Williams Institute.

Weddings by same-sex couples in New Jersey will have a positive impact on the state budget of over $96 million within the next three years, the report found...

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