While many folks are seething over the California state Supreme Court's recent decision to overturn the ban on gay marriages, there's others, besides the happy same-sex couples, who have reason to celebrate --- the wedding industry.
The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law estimates that same-sex weddings could generate up to $683.6 million in additional revenue for the industry over the next three years.
With the current state of the economy, the ruling looks to be particularly good news for jewelers as same-sex couples look to purchase wedding rings and wedding jewelry, according to the Platinum Guild International USA, marketing arm of the platinum jewelry industry.
Though Massachusetts also allows gay marriage, California is the only state where same-sex couples can obtain a marriage license even if they don't live there. The Williams Institute estimates that half of the state's 102,639 same-sex couples will marry by 2011, in addition to 67,500 out-of-state couples. That's a lot of wedding bands to be purchased, nuptials to be catered.
Hotels, wedding planners and vendors in California obviously stand to benefit from ceremonies from the sought-after gay demographic. Gays usually earn more than straights and have more disposable income.
With Illinois tourism generating more than $30 billion last year, a 5.8 percent increase over 2006, maybe the Legislature should investigate a similar law here. Just for the business it could bring --- not for the love.