Same-sex marriage ban costs Australia over $700 million

Jan. 31st, 2010 /LGBT News - Seeking Media/ Australia's ban on same-sex marriage costs the Australian economy over $700 million according to figures released today by Australian Marriage Equality (AME).

Using a simple formula developed by economists in the United States, AME has multiplied the average cost of weddings in Australia with the percentage of Australia's same-sex couples who would marry if they had the choice.

The last Census indicated that there are at least 50,000 same-sex couples, however the Bureau of Statistics admits that the actual figure would higher than that due to the way information is recorded. "Not so Private Lives", a recent national study conducted at the University of Queensland, showed that at least 53% of these couples would marry if they could. The ABS in 2007 calculated the average cost of a wedding at $28,000 (although recent studies have the figure as high as $49,000). When you pull these figures together you get an amount of $742,000,000.

AME's figures are in line with recent US studies that have shown allowing same-sex marriage would generate US$200 million for the New Jersey economy over 3 years and US$21 million for the city of San Francisco in 1 year alone.

Australian Marriage Equality spokesperson, Alex Greenwich, said:

"A quick calculation using very conservative figures tells us the cost of marriage discrimination to the Australian economy is at least $742 million"

"On top of this there would be spending on honeymoons and spending by overseas visitors who would come to Australia to marry."

"The Rudd Government's continued discrimination of gay and lesbian Australians is not only hurtful, it is also a very expensive prejudice to maintain."

"If the Rudd Government were the good financial managers they claim to be, they would see that with just one small amendment to the Marriage Act, a very effective economic stimulus package would be unleashed."

Instead, Australian couples like Glenn and Ashley Anderson-Buick have had to move their wedding spend overseas: "We would have loved to have had our wedding in Sydney, but the Australian Government bans same-sex marriage, so we held a beautiful wedding ceremony in Toronto"

In addition to the wedding spend, travel industry experts are lamenting the further impact this is having on honeymoon spend and in-bound tourism, Victor Hoeld from Hautes Vacances Gay Travel: "When couples come to us to help them with their honeymoon, they are combining this with places where they can also get married like Capetown, Vancouver, Barcelona, Lisbon or Boston... this is unfortunate for our local tourism industry which could really be benefitting".

Mr Greenwich added that a portion of the $742 million lost to the Australian economy is made up of fees and charges gathered by state and territory governments for registering marriages, conducting marriage ceremonies and issuing marriage certificates.

"Taxpayers, as well as businesses, are being hit by marriage discrimination", he said.

For further information contact:
Alex Greenwich
National Convener

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