The Chicago Family Law Blog

Illinois Gay Marriage Law: Good for the Economy?

In February, Mayor Rahm Emanuel stated that he would support legislation, currently pending in Springfield, that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois, the Chicago Tribune reports. “If you have two loving adults, that should actually be held up as a positive, whether it’s male or female, but in this case female-female, male-male,” Emanuel said. “I think that’s proper, and we shouldn’t as a state discriminate.”

Not only would the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act help end discrimination, but it may also help the state’s economy, according to a new report by the Williams Institute, the leading institute on sexual orientation and gender identity law, The Huffington Post reports.

Same-sex marriage can only be recognized at a state level currently because the federal Defense of Marriage Act prevents recognition of such marriages on the federal level. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, “marriages between 2 members of the same sex” are prohibited. That may change, however, if the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act is passed.

But how would a law recognizing same-sex marriage help the state’s economy?

According to the Williams Institute’s research, same-sex weddings would generate between $39 and $72 million for the state’s economy over a three-year period. In addition, the married couples would bring in $4.5 to $8 million more in sales and lodging tax revenue for the state. The numbers here are understandable, considering there are currently an estimated 23,049 same-sex couples in Illinois. The report excludes spending by out of state couples.

Lawmakers hope to pass the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act into law by 2013. That’s good news for both same-sex couples and Illinois’ economy.

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