ANZ: Here are a billion economic reasons to bring about marriage equality in Australia

Australia’s first same sex married couple, Stephen Dawson and Dennis Liddelow. Photo by Martin Ollman.

Gay marriage is worth money. A lot of it – the ANZ has put a dollar figure on the economic impact of introducing marriage equality in Australia, saying that if just half the same sex couple married when the nation finally gives the nod, it would be worth $1 billion.

Cherelle Murphy, ANZ’s co-head of Australian economics, and statistician Mandeep Kaura, say in a research note out today that legalisation would be “a fresh and much-needed source of demand for the Australian economy”.

“It will complement the federal government’s agenda of boosting the small-business sector and lift confidence by securing additional sources of demand for the many retailers, hospitality and professional service businesses involved in the wedding and honeymoon industry,” they say, adding that the improved image for Australia would bring additional economic benefits from overseas.

The 2011 Census found there were nearly 34,000 same sex couples in Australia, around a third more than five years earlier. Murphy extrapolated that to a potential pool of up to 38,000 couples by 2016.

Based on a 2010 University of Queensland study, that found quarter would marry within 12 months of being allowed, and with an average wedding spend of $51,000, that’s up to a $550 million boost to the economy in the first year.

“If half of the population of same sex couples chose to marry within one year, the benefits to the economy in the first year of the legislation would be over $1 billion” they said, adding that the figures do not include honeymoon expenditure, wedding tourism from foreign couples coming to Australia to get married.

The ANZ lists five immediate economic benefits from marriage equality:

Expenditure on weddings. This could benefit a range of industries including retail trade, hospitality, arts and recreation, professional services (pre-nuptial agreements and divorce).

Increased service exports due to offshore visitors marrying and honeymooning in Australia.

The diversion of Australian same sex couples back home that would otherwise have married overseas. This may further boost the industries listed above.

Increased state government revenue from same-sex marriage license fees and from conducting on-site ceremonies in state run registries of births, deaths and marriages.

There may also be a small boost to consumer confidence, given the change to marriage equality is a policy supported by the majority of Australians.

Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome, said the study showed that same-sex marriage had sound economic benefits.

“Any government that wants to improve the economy, boost small business and create jobs should support marriage equality.”

“We call on the Turnbull Government to move quickly on marriage equality to stem the tide of same-sex couples marrying overseas and ensure the wedding spend of Australian same-sex couples boosts business and jobs in Australia.”

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