New York’s new same-sex marriage law goes into effect on July 24 and thousands of homosexual couples are planning to travel there to marry. The question remains – is same-sex marriage going to be a boom or a bust for New York?
Richard Crogan is the president of the Niagara Falls Main Street Business and Professional Association. He is also homosexual and he and his partner, Michael Murphy, are looking forward to marrying this fall.
In New York State, Niagara Falls seems to be the wedding destination of choice and local retailers, especially those catering to the wedding industry are already seeing an up-tick in inquires and reservations. Business Owner Sally Fedell and other companies who cater to the wedding market are hoping Niagara Falls will see an economic boom once the law goes into effect.
According to Fedell, homosexual couples that are calling are “literally giggling over the phone.”
One thing is certain: Weddings are big business with the U.S. average being around $26,000 – part of an $84 billion market nationwide.
In 2007 the New York Comptroller’s office issued a report entitled, “Love Counts.” The report estimated that legalized homosexual unions would add $184 million in net spending to the state’s economy. A later analysis completed in 2009 increased that amount to approximately $210 million into the state’s economy over a three-year period.
New York City will undoubtedly see a surge in marriages right after the July 24 date when the law takes effect. There are estimated to be approximately 45,000 gay couples living in New York State, the majority of who live in or around New York City.
And to boot, two days later on July 26, there will be a free mass wedding and reception on the grounds of Bethpage State Park on Long Island. In 2008, over 18,000 homosexual couples web in a mass ceremony in California, several months before the state’s supreme court ruled in favor of Proposition 8.
Because the 24th happens to be a Sunday, all five of the New York City clerk’s offices will be open. In addition, some New York state judges have volunteered their services and will waive the state’s 24-hour waiting period so couple can marry that same day. Officials have to hurry to rewrite a new marriage application and distribute to all the county clerks offices throughout the state. These same officials still haven’t figured out how to handle the issue of who is who. Currently, one party must check “bride” and someone must check “groom.”
But evangelical and pro-family leaders question the ultimate price of same-sex marriage. Evangelicals and clergy are devastated by the law’s passage and what it will mean to marriage.
Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan led the efforts to oppose New York’s passage of same-sex marriage, saying, “God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage a long time ago.” Dolan’s rally attracted over a hundred clergy who march in opposition to the bill’s passage.
What exact kind of effect same-sex marriage will have in New York will be answered later, but what is for certain is the number of marriages in New York will dramatically increase for the few weeks following July 24.