(Australian Associated Press)
The legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia could have a simply fabulous effect on the economy.
More than half a billion dollars is expected to be injected into Australia’s economy in just one year if same-sex marriage is legalised, ANZ economists predict.
Huge amounts would be spent on weddings, honeymoons and, possibly, divorces, if more than 30,000 Australian same-sex couples are allowed to tie the knot.
ANZ’s report into the economic upside of marriage equality says if the laws change, more couples are likely to tie the knot at home rather than head overseas to countries like the US and New Zealand where same-sex marriage is already legal.
“Those weddings that we may have lost to overseas economies, those will stay at home,” ANZ senior economist Cherelle Murphy told AAP.
Pent-up demand should see an eight-to-nine per cent increase in the total amount Australians splash out on weddings during the first year of legalisation, the report estimates.
Other benefits could flow from overseas couples booking ceremonies and honeymoons on our shores.
According to 2011 Census data, same-sex couples earn more on average than their heterosexual counterparts, and considering the average cost of an Australian wedding is $50,000, spending big on their nuptials might not be a huge financial stretch.
There were 34,000 same sex couples in Australia in 2011, with that number now predicted to be closer to 40,000.
NSW and the ACT will feel the biggest impact from the legalisation of gay marriage, with the state and territory hosting some of the largest populations of same-sex couples in the country.
Ms Murphy says there will be lots of indirect areas that will begin to see an economic boost.
“Professional therapy and the legal industry would probably benefit from [marriage equality],” she says.
Consumer confidence might also rise, she says, “simply because the Australian population is quite clearly in support of marriage equality”.
Legalising gay marriage might not be too far off, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying he would like a plebiscite before the next federal election.
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE MAKES ECONOMIC SENSE
* $500-550m boost to annual wedding spending
* Retail, hospitality, leisure, tourism could be big winners
* Same-sex tourism to increase in Australia
* Marriage licence fees to fill state government coffers
* Divorce/prenups to increase clients for law firms, therapists