On Aug. 4, 2010, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker overturned the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that the ban discriminates against gay and lesbian couples and violates the U.S. Constitution.
Whatever they think of the issue of same-sex marriage, Californians should agree on this much: It would have been nice, from an economic perspective, if U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker had issued today's decision permitting California counties to marry same-sex couples, beginning Aug. 18, back in the spring.
A flurry of marriages would have been good for California's ailing economy this late spring and summer, but now the summer is almost over.
California business and government already has lost out since same-sex marriages were stopped, after five months, with the passage of Prop 8 in November. Estimates by the Williams Institute at UCLA, first performed in 2008, predicted a modest-but-every-little-bit-counts $63 million in revenues to the state over three years if such marriages had remained legal. That in turn was based on the estimate that about half of California's estimated 102,000 same-sex couples would marry over the three years beginning in 2008 and going through 2011 -- and that more than 67,000 gay couples from around the country would come to California to marry.
The projected economic impact, according to the Williams Institute, would have been more than $680 million in direct spending on tourism and weddings over three years.
It will be interesting to see new projections. Some of that money may have gone to other states that permit same-sex marriage. But as a California taxpayer, let me say to the world: please come to our economically troubled state and have your big gay wedding (the bigger the better!) right here.