June 1 (UPI) -- Wedding spending by same-sex couples and out-of-state guests has boosted state and local economies by billions of dollars, a new study from University of California-Los Angeles shows.
An estimated 293,000 same-sex couples have married in the five years since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision in June, 2015.
Those weddings have pumped up local economies over the past five years by $3.8 billion, the study from UCLA's Williams Institute School of Law shows.
An estimated 513,000 same-sex couples are married as of March 2020, according to U.S. census records.
While gay weddings were legal in states like New York as early as 2011, at the time of the Supreme Court decision, 13 states did not allow same-sex couples to marry and 18 states had just granted same-sex couples the right to marry in the previous year.
Gay weddings also generated $244.1 million in state and local sales tax revenue over the past five years, the study said.
The study said that the growth of 45,000 jobs the wedding industry can be attributed to the upsurge in same-sex marriages, such as same-sex wedding expos and photographers who specialize in gay weddings.
Even though same-sex couples typically spend $11,000 on average on their weddings, less than the $15,000 average spend by heterosexual couples, researchers found that the average gay wedding also included 16 out-of-state guests, who spent an average of $116 per guest on lodging and travel.
"Using these figures, we estimate that 4,688,000 out-of-state guests have attended weddings of same-sex couples since the Obergefell decision, generating a total economic boost of $543.8 million over that period," the researchers said.
American attitudes about same-sex marriages have changed in the five years since the Supreme Court decision, polls show.
A Gallup annual Value and Belief poll, released Monday, said 67 percent of Americans said same sex marriages should be recognized by law.
In 1996, the percentages were reversed from what they are today. At that time, only 27 percent said they believed same-sex marriages should be recognized as valid by law while 68 percent disagreed.