If New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn's figures that same-sex marriages brought in some $259 million in economic benefits to the city are correct--that means gay marriages earned the city around $30,000 per hour since they were legalized one year ago. Or put another way, that's an extra $31 for each 8,245,000 New Yorkers. But like you, we were wondering what "economic benefits" really means. Well, according to the Bloomberg and Quinn's statement, the survey conducted by NYC & Co., the city's marketing and tourism agency, involved taking the 8,200-plus same-sex marriages that were licensed in the past year and combining them with these figures: "More than 200,000 guests traveled from outside of the City to same-sex marriage events and more than 235,000 hotel room nights were booked at an average daily room rate of $275." The economic rationale for gay marriage has been broached before: The San Francisco Chronicle in 2010 cited a study that California may have missed out on some $683 million in the three years because of the passing of Prop. 8, while a CNN report in 2010 noted that Massachusetts added $111 million to the state's economy in the first five years after same-sex marriage was legalized in 2004. Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker's Quinn's statement added that marriage celebrations also raised $16 million in city revenues. And if you can do the (at times fuzzy) math, here are more specifics of how they got to that $259 million figure:
Only half of same-sex couples had a budget in mind when planning their wedding, but they averaged costs of $9,039 for their wedding celebration and 31 percent spent $10,000 or more. Approximately 235,900 hotel room nights were booked, more than 40,000 wedding announcements were printed, and 47,445 wedding favors were purchased all adding up to additional revenue for New York City.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.