If Australia grants same-sex marriage couples the right to marry, the Australian economy would see a surge in spending related to weddings by same-sex couples. The increase in spending will not only come from the same-sex couples living within Australia, but by those who travel to Australia, to marry.
A recent study of the Australian Labour Force counted approximately 33,000 same-sex couples that currently live in Australia. A recent survey of same-sex couples shows that 54% of same-sex couples would prefer Australian law to recognize their relationship as a marriage. Roughly 54% or 17,820 of the 33,000 same-sex couples would marry if they could. A 2009 figure showed that the average wedding in Australia would range from $28,000 to $36,200. Although due to public discrimination and parental issues same-sex couples may not spend as much on a wedding as the average Australian would
By using 25% of IBISWorld figure of $36,200 results in an estimate of total spending by each couple of $9,050. The 17,820 same-sex couples projected to marry would generate a boost to the Australian economy of $161,271,000 over the first three years. Another recent estimate of the economic impact suggest that same-sex couples would spend up to $742 million on their weddings.
A state that is the first mover to allow same-sex couples to marry might be able to claim a large share of the $161 million, assuming that 54% of Tasmania’s own same-sex couples will marry. In 2006 Tasmania was home to 1.7% of Australia’s 25,000 same-sex couples, applying that percentage to the 2011 figures shows that about 570 same-sex couples are likely to be living in Tasmania. If 54% marry and spend $9,050 they will spend $2.8 million on their weddings.
Tasmania is also likely to benefit beyond spending by its resident same-sex couples. Australian Marriage Equality conducted a survey of over 800 same-sex people across Australia, and found that 87% would marry in Tasmania. If Tasmania became the first state to allow same-sex marriage of the 17,513 predicted to marry 87% or 15,236 couples would travel to marry in Tasmania. In the same survey people were asked how much they would spend on their wedding in Tasmania, on average people said around $12,220, so we take 50% of that figure for the typical out-of-state couple marrying in Tasmania. For 15,236 couples, the added spending would be $93 million to the Tasmanian economy, taking resident and non-resident couples suggest that spending could boost the Tasmanian economy by $96 million.
On September the 28th 2012, the Tasmanian upper house of Parliament voted down the same-sex marriage bill 8-6 and halted the state from becoming the first in the nation to allow same-sex couples to marry, the premier of Tasmania, has expressed her disappointment, stating that MP’s are hiding behind legalities.