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California officials expect the state to bring in millions of dollars from same-sex weddings and related spending following the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Prop 8 Wednesday. (Photo: David Wilson (left) and Rob Compton embrace after being married by a Unitarian minister at the Arlington Street Church in Boston on May 17, 2004. They were one of the first couples in Massachusetts to be legally wed.
The U.S. Supreme Court's action Wednesday which cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California are expected to mean a boost to the state's economy.
The state of California could gain $46 million in tax and fee revenue from same-sex weddings and there will be a boost of $492 million to the state’s economy over the next three years, according to the Williams Institute, a research center at UCLA School of Law.
State Controller John Chiang said those numbers are not off from the impact same-sex marriages have had on other states such as Washington.
“We can expect similar types of economic activity growth here in California,” he said. “… We have a lot to offer and that will be highlighted by the fact that more people can get married here in the state of California.”
Chiang said the impact is widespread, with couples spending money on food, venue and equipment fees for their weddings. Also, the celebrations will cause people from out of town to come to California, helping boost tourism, he said.
Chiang said marriages can lead to couples having children and buying homes, which also helps the region’s economy.
Several Southern California wedding venues said they expect to see more business.
Last year, 142 couples got married at iconic Santa Monica hotels Casa Del Mar and Shutters on the Beach. The venues expect to see weddings increase 30 percent or more as a result of same-sex marriage now legal in the state, said Stephen Friddle, director of catering and conference services for Casa Del Mar and Shutters on the Beach.
“By taking away Prop 8, it expands our wedding market,” Friddle said. “We’re very excited about that.”
An average wedding package at both venues costs $199 to $265 per person. Friddle said weddings represent 60 to 70 percent of the catering food and beverage revenues for both hotels.
The two hotels are already popular for beachfront weddings at sunset, and summer weddings are booked 12 to 18 months ahead, Friddle said.
“I would say 18 months will be the new norm in the next few months,” he added.
In the past, there were only a few same-sex ceremonies at the venues, but Friddle expects that will change.
“I think people were waiting for this,” he said.