While gay marriage still has half of the Supreme Court's robes
in a bunch and Catholic bishops hunkered in total
prayer and meat-fasting mode
, more civilized parts of the world like, oh say,
have found themselves on the side of civil rights -- and laughing
all the way to the bank.
Until recently, same-sex marriage proponents have largely focused
the upsides of legalization -- aside from keeping the Constitution
constitutional -- in terms of the personal, social, and cultural
benefits of taking part in the institution. For those in society
unmoved by the touchy-feely appeals, here's a motivating factor
that might just turn the bigotry tide: money.
The LGBT community has serious buying power -- some nearly
worth, in fact, in this country alone. When legalized marriage is
open to this demographic, whole industries and institutions get to
dip into its collective cookie jar. Minyanville is here to tell you
which ones will benefit the most.
Some of the most obvious and immediate beneficiaries of the
same-sex walk down the aisle are the myriad enterprises that play a
part -- both directly and indirectly -- in the wedding industry.
Within the first year of enacting the Marriage Equality Act in June
2011, New York City's economy got a
$259 million boost
-- well on its way to surpassing the
the State's Senate Independent Democratic Conference had projected
over the first three years combined.
Through spending in area hotels, restaurants, catering halls,
bridal boutiques, beauty salons and suppliers, caterers, etc. and
the resulting tax revenue, gay and lesbian marriage made enough
money to pay the city's
parks and recreation budget
for the year (or to buy each resident three Big Gulps). 2013 is
expected to raise
just in marriage licenses and ceremony fees.
Let's not forget large, public companies like hotel chains, rental
car agencies, jewelers, and big box wedding registry retailers that
wouldn't have otherwise been patronized.
Minivan and SUV Manufacturers
Love. Marriage. Baby carriage. Minivan.
In researching the purchasing decisions of people in their
child-rearing years (ages 28-45), TrueCar.com found
that the family roadster is still the auto of choice. "Generation X
buyers... chose cars that were comfortable and convenient for their
analyst Kristen Andersson. "They chose larger, more luxurious cars
to take their families on vacations or kids to play soccer with
ample room to store equipment and luggage."
Of the top ten models purchased by this demographic, only two --
the BMW M3 Sedan and
) Aveo -- didn't fall into the minivan or SUV category. The
) Routan, Nissan Quest and Armada,
) Land Cruiser and Sienna, Volvo XC90, and Infiniti QX56,
respectively, comprised the rest of the list.
In addition to higher profit margins for automakers, bigger cars
generally mean less fuel efficiency and costlier insurance premiums
-- a boon to both the Exxons and Geicos of the economy.
Speaking of insurance,
) et al.'s same-sex marriage payday isn't limited to its auto arm.
The life and term insurance business largely relies on partnering
up -- unless the majority of policyholders are eccentrics who are
leaving everything to the local research institute on captive
Real Estate and Home Improvement
Another fairly predictable corollary to settling down is,
literally, settling down. According to 2012 data from the National
Association of Realtors,
65% of homeowners are married couples
. Down the aisle to over the threshold has been a societal
procession for generations and there's no evidence to suggest those
in same-sex relationships would deviate from that custom.
Moreover, gay and lesbian homeowners invest more in maintaining and
improving their properties. In 2009, during the height of the
economic downturn, a national consumer survey found the demographic
twice as much
as its straight neighbors on renovations, reporting higher rates of
"Gay men and lesbians have a reputation of being major home
improvement shoppers and this survey reaffirms that," said Matt
Tumminello, president of marketing firm Target 10. "Renovating and
refurbishing homes is in many ways a part of gay culture. Even in
bad economic times, they are not stopping."
On the local level, we saw how same-sex marriages put a few more
bucks in New York City's coffers. In 2004, the Congressional Budget
Office studied the economic impact on the federal budget and found
that while Adam and Steve aren't going to wipe out the deficit,
they will make a
$1 billion dent every year over the next decade
This figure absorbs the cost of the government no longer being
permitted to deny health insurance coverage, the right to file
joint federal tax returns, Social Security survivor benefits,
estate tax waivers, and a number of perks to which partners with
opposite reproductive organs are automatically entitled.
Assuming same-sex partners haven't unlocked the secret to lifelong
commitment, these couples are likely to follow their straight
counterparts' lead to Splitsville roughly 50% of the time. While
it's true that, statistically speaking, gay and lesbian marriages
twice the success rate
as traditional ones, the credit is owed less to the demographic as
a whole and more to a generation of already long-established
relationships finally reaping their civil rights.
"[T]he partners getting married tend to be those who have already
been together for some time,"
attorney, mediator, and author Frederick Hertz. "They already have
weathered the stormy middle years of coupledom, and they are
consciously committed to being a family... Think about it -- the
couples with shakier relationships are not likely to travel across
state lines to get married -- and there certainly aren't any
'shotgun' marriages in the gay community!"
It's a cynical outlook, for sure. But when this groundbreaking
first wave of equality has passed, the spousal stick-to-itiveness
won't be far behind, thus paving a fresh path for another caravan
of station wagon chasers.
Same-sex marriage is good for business -- all business -- or at
least 278 of them representing nearly every sector of the economy.
In the interest of fairness as well as their own bottom lines, the
biggest corporations in the world, including
Johnson & Johnson
(DIS), joined forces to sign a
against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
The brief read:
Our organizations are engaged in national and international
competition- for talent, customers, and business. That competition
demands teamwork, and teamwork thrives when the organization
minimizes distracting differences, and focuses on a common mission.
DOMA's core mandate-that we single out some of our married
colleagues and treat them as a lesser class-upsets this
Should the Supreme Court heed the business community's pleas and
overturn DOMA, perhaps the those on opposing side will learn to
find comfort in a "If you can't beat 'em, profit off 'em! "