A new study has indicated that legalizing same-sex marriage in Ohio could lead to big economic growth in the state. The study — conducted by Bill LaFayette, founder of Regionomics, LLC — found that Ohio’s gross domestic product (GDP), which measures economic worth, would go up by $100-$126 million within three years of same-sex marriage legalization.
The study also found that the state would sustain 740 to 930 jobs within the first year of legalization, 250 to 310 jobs within the second year and 170 to 210 jobs within the third year.
In Hamilton County, legalizing same-sex marriage would produce $8.2 million in growth, according to the study.
The study found its numbers by looking at the amount of same-sex couples in Ohio and seeing how many would marry, which would lead to using paid marriage services. The study found that there are 19,685 same-sex couples in Ohio, and 9,863 of those couples would marry within three years. In Hamilton County, there are 1,798 same-sex couples, and 899 would marry within three years.
However, since the study only looked at same-sex couples within the state, it did not account for what has been dubbed "marriage tourism." It is possible that same-sex couples from adjacent states could come to Ohio to get married, and that would lead to even more economic growth in the state.
The study is being used by Freedom to Marry Ohio, a pro-same-sex marriage organization, to push the Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment in Ohio. The amendment, if put on a ballot and approved by voters, would legalize same-sex marriage, as well as give religious institutions the ability to refuse any marriages.
Dennis Willard, spokesperson for Freedom to Marry Ohio, says the organization’s goal is to have the amendment on the ballot “as soon as November 2013.” However, Willard says the organization would not stop promoting same-sex marriage until the ballot initiative passed and it intends to “educate the public” on why same-sex marriage would be beneficial to Ohio.
Willard says LaFayette’s study is part of that education, which the organization will use to build support for same-sex marriage.
“From an economic perspective, it (same-sex marriage) just makes sense,” he says. Willard hopes Ohioans can come to understand that as well.
Last week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the economic argument for same-sex marriage when he announced it had produced $259 million in economic growth for his city in just one year.
An interactive Ohio map showing the results of LaFayette's study is available here.