New York gay marriage bill: What would happen if it passes?

New York legislators could vote as early as Wednesday to legalize gay marriage in the state. New York would become the sixth state to permit gay marriage. Here’s a list six things that would – and wouldn’t – happen should the bill pass.

By , Contributor

3. Could happen: Impact on economy

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    The New York state Senate deliberates in Albany, N.Y., Monday during a session in which lawmakers are considering legalizing gay marriage.
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Thousands of same-sex couples from New York and surrounding states could head to the Empire State to be married – bringing millions of dollars with them.

Wedding parties pour money into private businesses, such as restaurants, hotels and wedding venues, and into the government, by way of sales taxes and marriage-license fees.

Gay marriages in New York could generate up to $210 million for the state’s economy, according to a 2009 analysis by New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson. That would represent 0.02 percent of New York's roughly $1.1 trillion annual economic output.

The same analysis also notes that private employers who do not already offer benefits to domestic partners could face $69 million in new costs statewide if the law is passed.

Massachusetts experienced a gay-wedding boom after it became the first state to legalize same-sex marriages in 2004.

In the first four years after the law was passed, more than 12,000 same-sex couples living in Massachusetts were married there, according to a 2009 study by the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. The couples spent an average of $7,400 on their weddings and, along with out-of-state gay couples, pumped more than $100 million into the state economy.

That same pent-up demand might not exist in New York, since three bordering states – Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont – have had legal gay marriage since at least 2009. But New York's sheer size means even a small percentage of the gay population could have a measurable economic effect.

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