Marriage One Year Later

Newlyweds with family and friends exiting the Manhattan marriage bureau on July 24, 2011. GAY CITY NEWS

BY DUNCAN OSBORNE | Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn announced that one year after same sex marriage was enacted in New York, 7,184 same-sex couples had married in New York City and they generated an estimated $259 million in “economic impact” for those weddings.

“The widespread reach marriage equality has had in New York extends beyond the fundamental need to make sure all people are free to marry the person of their choosing,” said Quinn, an out lesbian who represents Chelsea, in a July 24 press statement. “Our economy has also reaped the benefits full equality has to offer and the impressive economic impact same-sex marriage has and will continue to have on our city is a boon for New York and for all those who fought so hard to make equality a reality in New York State.”

A gay marriage bill easily passed the state Assembly last year, as it had in each of the prior three years, and the state Senate passed it on June 24 in a 33 to 29 vote. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who fought for the legislation, signed it that day and weddings began 30 days later.

Though July 24 was a Sunday, the city opened its five marriage bureaus and issued 659 marriage licenses and married 484 of the couples who received licenses. The spouses came from New York and 23 other states though 77 percent of the couples issued licenses that day were from the city.

According to the state Department of Health, 3,424 same sex couples have married in New York as of July 16. That state statistic excludes New York City and it may be low because couples are not required to report their sex on marriage licenses. New York City couples are also not required to report their sex on marriage licenses.

The city estimated that “67 percent of same-sex couples held wedding receptions at restaurants, homes, hotels or catering halls in the five boroughs, with 296,500 guests and 201,600 of them traveling from outside of the city.”

In a study of 1,700 randomly selected same-sex and opposite-sex couples who married in New York City, the city estimated that the average cost of the weddings was $9,039 and “31 percent spent $10,000 or more.”

The study estimated that approximately “235,900 hotel room nights were booked, more than 40,000 wedding announcements were printed, and 47,445 wedding favors were purchased.”

The estimate of economic activity was produced by NYC & Company, the city’s tourism bureau.

“Marriage equality has made our city more open, inclusive and free and it has also helped to create jobs and support our economy,” Bloomberg said in the July 24 statement. “New York has always been a great place to get married and since the passage of the Marriage Equality Act, we’re welcoming more and more couples, their families and friends from around the country and the world.”