The recent ruling by the California Supreme Court to legalize gay "marriage" could provide a $370 million boost to the economy over the next three years, according to a recent study.
M.V. Lee Badgett, research director at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law, said that a sudden rush by the state's nearly 100,000 same-sex couples to tie the knot, combined with a desire to heavily splurge on state recognized "marriage" ceremonies for the first time, would be a boom for hotels, resorts, and wedding retailers.
"There's an opportunity to get a big wedding windfall," she told the Los Angeles Times.
The potential of a so-called gay "marriage" boom gained wide recognition and entered the public discourse after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joked about it at an Environmental Defense Fund event in San Francisco two weeks ago.
"You know, I'm wishing everyone good luck with their marriages and I hope that California's economy is booming because everyone is going to come here and get married," Schwarzenegger said to a crowd of laughter.
The Family Research Council, however, has countered the assertion that a gay "marriage" boom would be good for California, adding that it is a very serious matter.
"All joking aside, the Governor has put his finger on a big issue. Homosexual couples from across the nation will flock to sunny California this summer, obtain marriage 'licenses,' and return home to use them to batter every other state and its voters into submission. The real 'booming' you will hear is the destruction of our nation's laws protecting the institution of marriage," the conservative group said in a statement.
Pro-family groups hope a referendum that would ban gay "marriage" will be successfully placed on this year's ballot for voters to decide on during this year's election in November.
If a majority of state residents vote positively on the ban, the amendment will overturn and nullify the state's high court ruling on gay "marriage."
The measure – which is still being processed by the State Registrar – has attracted over 1 million signatures.
While recent polls gauge support for the California measure as mixed, a national Gallup poll revealed gay "marriage" to be unpopular among the vast majority of Americans.
Only 40 percent of Americans "currently say marriage between same-sex couples should be legal," according to the poll's results released last month.
Since 2004, when the Massachusetts State Supreme Court made its ruling to recognize gay "marriage," 27 states have passed a constitutional ban on the practice, while over a dozen others have passed laws limiting or outlawing it.