Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

State economies benefiting most from same-sex marriage legalization

  • Airman 1st Class Gwendalyn Smith // U.S. Air Force
    1/ Airman 1st Class Gwendalyn Smith // U.S. Air Force

    State economies benefiting most from same-sex marriage legalization

    It has now been three years since Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the country. America’s LGBT+ community still has many obstacles impeding full equality, as many states do not protect against the discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In an article on “ReligiousLiberty.TV,” writer Jason Hines notes: “The battlefield between the rights of same-sex couples and religious liberty is currently in the industries that surround the wedding event.”  Recent cases, such as the Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, have called attention to questions over freedom of religion and expressionis it an attack on an individual’s religious freedom to be required to do business with LGBT+ customers, or is it an act of discrimination for LGBT+ customers to face this refusal?

    As Americans debate this question from college campuses to the Supreme Court, one important aspect of same-sex marriages is often ignored. Between food, flowers, clothing and all the other components of a wedding, a marriage between two men or two women can bring in just as much revenue for a state through taxes and support of local businesses as a traditional marriage. A study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law focused on this economic benefit. Researchers used U.S. Census data to project the number of weddings that would take place in each state after same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015, then used that number to project the amount of spending and tax revenue resulting from those weddings. As this data was calculated before the Supreme Court decision, the numbers in this article are in fact projections, not actual values. Additionally, as the numbers for each state were calculated individually, a few data points are missing on some slides. It is important to note that “same-sex marriage” here refers to marriage between two women or two men; this does not include couples who are "opposite sex" but whose identities are also included under the LGBT+ umbrella.

    Stacker takes a retrospective look across the nation to compare the economic benefits of same-sex marriage in each state with actual current events involving that state’s LGBT+ community, including current Pride events, legislation, and local elections. Read on to find out how each state’s community is faring.

    RELATED STORY: Click here to read about the 33 top-rated LGBTQ+ charities.

  • Tim Evanson // Wikimedia Commons
    2/ Tim Evanson // Wikimedia Commons

    #51. New Hampshire

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 1,350

    Estimated total spending generated: not available

    Estimated tax revenue: $1,900,000

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2010

    New Hampshire was only the sixth state to make same-sex marriage legal, but parts of the state are not as accepting of the LGBT+ community. A set of local laws up for consideration in the state legislature would discriminate against transgender citizens seeking transition-related medical care.

  • Tim Evanson // Flickr
    3/ Tim Evanson // Flickr

    #50. North Dakota

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 280

    Estimated total spending generated: $1,916,600

    Estimated tax revenue: $125,537

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2015 (Supreme Court decision)

    North Dakota’s gay community is small, but pushing forward. This spring, the Fargo-Moorhead area's Red River Rainbow Seniors, a group of LGBT+ people over the age of 55, are sharing their stories through an oral history project.

  • S Pakhrin // Wikimedia Commons
    4/ S Pakhrin // Wikimedia Commons

    #49. South Dakota

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 357

    Estimated total spending generated: $2,397,612

    Estimated tax revenue: $139,781

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2015 (Supreme Court decision)

    The LGBT+ community in South Dakota is small, but any marriages that occur are still meaningful celebrations of love that push the state towards inclusivity. In June 2017, two years after the Supreme Court decision and three years after the Williams Institute study on this state, U.S. News and World Report reported that the number of marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples was close to 300.

  • JIP // Wikimedia Commons
    5/ JIP // Wikimedia Commons

    #48. Wyoming

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 329

    Estimated total spending generated: $2,441,180

    Estimated tax revenue: $134,021

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    Last January, a gay couple living in Thayne, Wyoming, sued the town for discrimination. The two men, Rusty and Marc Andrus, planned to open a restaurant in the town, but faced inflated prices and threats to their safety when they went to the town council for a liquor license.

  • David Prasad // Wikimedia Commons
    6/ David Prasad // Wikimedia Commons

    #47. Montana

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 674

    Estimated total spending generated: $4,486,144

    Estimated tax revenue: not available

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    The Great Falls Tribune found that 436 same-sex couples married in Montana in 2015, the first year since the state legalized the process. In the article, LGBT+ people from around the state share their excitement over making their romantic commitments official.

  • Anastasiarasputin // Wikimedia Commons
    7/ Anastasiarasputin // Wikimedia Commons

    #46. Vermont

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 1,072

    Estimated total spending generated: $5,502,596

    Estimated tax revenue: $330,156

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2009

    Vermont has a long, positive history of LGBT+ relationships: The state is the home to a portrait of a lesbian couple from the early 1800s. The Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History describes the artwork as “A Vermont Love Story for the Ages.” It is currently displayed on loan at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

  • Steven Pisano // Flickr
    8/ Steven Pisano // Flickr

    #45. Idaho

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 1,021

    Estimated total spending generated: $6,847,592

    Estimated tax revenue: $412,910

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    If elected, Paulette Jordan, one of the candidates in Idaho’s current gubernatorial race, would be the nation’s first Native American governor and the state’s first Democratic governor since 1990. Her platform is pro-LGBT+ rights, pro-marijuana legalization and pro-Medicaid expansion.

  • Todd Crusham // Flickr
    9/ Todd Crusham // Flickr

    #44. Delaware

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 767

    Estimated total spending generated: $6,990,659

    Estimated tax revenue: $210,165

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2013

    In another potentially historic political race, Kerri Harris is running for a Delaware Senate seatHarris is a community activist and Air Force veteran who would be the state's first biracial and lesbian congresswoman.

  • World's Direction // Flickr
    10/ World's Direction // Flickr

    #43. Rhode Island

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 808

    Estimated total spending generated: $7,016,056

    Estimated tax revenue: $530,666

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2013

    Rhode Island was the 10th U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage, but the last state in New England to do so. The decision was put into law with a bill signed by Governor Lincoln Chafee in May 2013. 

  • ReflectedSerendipity // Flickr
    11/ ReflectedSerendipity // Flickr

    #42. Alaska

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 614

    Estimated total spending generated: $8,005,332

    Estimated tax revenue: $135,290

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    Although the majority of Alaska’s citizens support same-sex marriage, the state’s legislature is currently working on a bill that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT+ couples.

  • Alex "Khaki" Vance // Flickr
    12/ Alex "Khaki" Vance // Flickr

    #41. Nebraska

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 1,178

    Estimated total spending generated: $8,048,096

    Estimated tax revenue: $546,467

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2015 (Supreme Court decision)

    Like Alaska, many of Nebraska’s citizens support the LGBT+ community. A recent survey found that nearly two-thirds of Nebraskans oppose discriminatory religious freedom laws.

  • ReflectedSerendipity // Flickr
    13/ ReflectedSerendipity // Flickr

    #40. West Virginia

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 1,424

    Estimated total spending generated: $8,996,832

    Estimated tax revenue: $546,108

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    A lesbian couple in West Virginia recently won a court case and $10,000 in damages from the Gilmer County clerk’s office. A clerk referred to the couple as an “abomination,” and verbally harassed the women when they went to receive their marriage license.

  • ReflectedSerendipity // Flickr
    14/ ReflectedSerendipity // Flickr

    #39. Maine

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 2,316

    Estimated total spending generated: $10,700,000

    Estimated tax revenue: $537,370

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2012

    Same-sex marriage became legal in Maine in 2012, and the state has prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation since 2005. Michael Heath, a leading opponent of gay rights in the state, recently decided to launch a campaign to remove the discrimination prohibition after gathering more than 60,000 signatures on his petition.

  • arda // Flickr
    15/ arda // Flickr

    #38. Mississippi

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 1,742

    Estimated total spending generated: $10,805,626

    Estimated tax revenue: $756,394

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2015 (Supreme Court decision)

    Michael Aycox, one of eight contenders for Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District seat, is the state’s first openly gay candidate. He has no political experience, but hopes to appeal to voters with his dedication to inclusive public service in order to win the Democratic primary in June.

  • Mack Male // Flickr
    16/ Mack Male // Flickr

    #37. Iowa

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 2,099

    Estimated total spending generated: $12,897,558

    Estimated tax revenue: $936,620

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2009

    Zach Wahls is another local candidate advocating for LGBT+ rights. Wahls gained political fame in 2011, when he spoke to Iowa’s House of Representatives about his lesbian mothers, to help convince the legislators not to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He won the Democratic primary for Iowa State Senate District 37 earlier in June.

  • PROTim Evanson // Flickr
    17/ PROTim Evanson // Flickr

    #36. Arkansas

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 2,113

    Estimated total spending generated: $13,633,604

    Estimated tax revenue: $1,252,928

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2015 (Supreme Court decision)

    Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, was forced to resign from the Country Music Association Foundation Board just one day after his appointment this past March. Members of the country music industry protested Huckabee’s position on the basis of his homophobic statements and policies.

  • infomatique // Wikimedia Commons
    18/ infomatique // Wikimedia Commons

    #35. Kansas

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 2,005

    Estimated total spending generated: $14,121,215

    Estimated tax revenue: $1,150,878

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    Kansas has a history of intolerance, so much so that in the summer of 2016, U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree issued an injunction banning Kansas from discriminating against LGBT+ couples. Crabtree added that he would personally oversee compliance for three years.

  • Beatrice Murch // Wikimedia Commons
    19/ Beatrice Murch // Wikimedia Commons

    #34. Utah

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 1,955

    Estimated total spending generated: $15,524,594

    Estimated tax revenue: $1,037,043

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2013

    Same-sex marriage became legal in Utah in 2014, when the U.S. Supreme Court denied the state’s appeal of the 10th Circuit Court’s decision to legalize the practice. County clerks immediately began to make changes to forms and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

  • Ted Eytan // Wikimedia Commons
    20/ Ted Eytan // Wikimedia Commons

    #33. Washington, D.C.

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 1,882

    Estimated total spending generated: $17,965,491

    Estimated tax revenue: $1,033,016

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2009

    Washington, D.C. was one of the first locations in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriage, and it quickly became “an ideal location for LGBT+ couples from around the world to ‘make it legal.’” As a result, the wedding industry in the city is friendly to these couples.

  • Daniel Ramirez // Wikimedia Commons
    21/ Daniel Ramirez // Wikimedia Commons

    #32. Hawaii

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 1,620

    Estimated total spending generated: $19,340,474

    Estimated tax revenue: $841,311

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2013

    Hawaii was the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2013. The path to LGBT+ inclusivity also saw a major step forward in 1993, when the state’s Supreme Court Justice Steven Levinson wrote that "marriage is a basic civil right," and that "on its face and as applied," the Hawaii law "denies same-sex couples access to the marital status and its concomitant rights and benefits”

  • Laura ArPar // Wikimedia Commons
    22/ Laura ArPar // Wikimedia Commons

    #31. New Mexico

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 2,913

    Estimated total spending generated: $20,400,000

    Estimated tax revenue: $1,480,000

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2013

    The New Mexico Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in a unanimous decision in December 2013. Justice Edward L. Chavez wrote in the decision that it is “unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.”

  • William Murphy // Flickr
    23/ William Murphy // Flickr

    #30. Oklahoma

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 3,067

    Estimated total spending generated: $20,496,761

    Estimated tax revenue: $1,787,317

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    After the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision, sovereign Native American nations were suddenly faced with an impetus to decide whether to incorporate same-sex marriage into their tribal laws. The Osage Nation, a tribe based in Oklahoma, voted by a referendum to “amend the definition of marriage in the tribe’s legal code to include same-sex couples” in March 2017.

  • Ted Eytan // Flickr
    24/ Ted Eytan // Flickr

    #29. Alabama

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 3,291

    Estimated total spending generated: $21,661,362

    Estimated tax revenue: $1,843,381

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2015

    Alabama is among the states with the highest percentage of citizens who oppose same-sex marriagetied with Mississippi, according to a Gallup poll. Christopher Harress of AL.com hypothesizes that this is due to the prevalence of religious values in the state.

  • Ted Eytan // Flickr
    25/ Ted Eytan // Flickr

    #28. Kentucky

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 3,598

    Estimated total spending generated: $23,408,588

    Estimated tax revenue: $1,404,515

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2015 (Supreme Court decision)

    At North Kentucky’s Pride celebration on June 10, organizers called attention to the state's lack of anti-discrimination laws, which allows LGBT+ people to be fired or denied accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The motto of their festival was "Y'all means all!"

  • Hunter Desportes // Flickr
    26/ Hunter Desportes // Flickr

    #27. South Carolina

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 3,607

    Estimated total spending generated: $24,791,813

    Estimated tax revenue: $1,782,531

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    Last month, a Catholic school in Hilton Head, S.C. denied admission to the children of a lesbian couple on the grounds of their parents' sexual orientation. “Based on Biblical and traditional teachings, we believe that God wills marriage to be a vow, loving union between a man and a woman,” the school’s pastor wrote in a statement.

  • Tony Webster // Flickr
    27/ Tony Webster // Flickr

    #26. Louisiana

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 4,038

    Estimated total spending generated: $28,298,304

    Estimated tax revenue: $2,515,719

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2015 (Supreme Court decision)

    A Louisiana Senate committee voted to kill a proposal that would have adjusted the language in the state’s marriage and parental laws to be more gender-neutral, aligning with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision. One opposer of the proposal argued that “the Supreme Court could decide to make same-sex marriage illegal again in the future.”

  • Wayne // Wikimedia Commons
    28/ Wayne // Wikimedia Commons

    #25. Wisconsin

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 4,590

    Estimated total spending generated: $34,268,940

    Estimated tax revenue: $1,860,803

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    An upcoming Wisconsin court case pertaining to gay marriage has gained national attention. The state’s Supreme Court will rule on whether or not it is a freedom of speech violation for a college to fire a professor due to content on a personal blog. The post in question attacked a student teacher who “shut down” a discussion on same-sex marriage.

  • GeorgeDement // Wikimedia Commons
    29/ GeorgeDement // Wikimedia Commons

    #24. Missouri

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 5,279

    Estimated total spending generated: $36,256,172

    Estimated tax revenue: $2,750,031

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2015 (Supreme Court decision)

    A Missouri non-discrimination act, which would make it illegal to discriminate against citizens on the basis of their sexual orientation, was proposed for the 20th time this year—and passed in the House for the first time. The bill will not likely become a law this year, but activists are still celebrating this progress.

  • Ted Eytan // Wikimedia Commons
    30/ Ted Eytan // Wikimedia Commons

    #23. Tennessee

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 5,449

    Estimated total spending generated: $36,726,260

    Estimated tax revenue: $3,470,631

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2015 (Supreme Court decision)

    The Public Religion Research Institute's 2017 American Values Atlas survey found that Tennessee is one of only six U.S. states in which a majority does not support same-sex marriage. Republicans in the state even stopped a bill banning child marriage in order to maintain the legal basis for a lawsuit mounted by the Family Action Council of Tennessee against the 2015 Supreme Court marriage decision.

  • dancetechtv // Flickr
    31/ dancetechtv // Flickr

    #22. Indiana

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 5,537

    Estimated total spending generated: $39,116,137

    Estimated tax revenue: $2,738,129

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    Republican lawmakers in Indiana are currently debating among themselves whether to adjust language in the state’s party platform that defines marriage as “between a man and a woman.” The proposed new language would offer support to “blended families, grandparents, guardians, single parents and all loving adults who successfully raise and nurture children to reach their full potential every day.”

  • Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons
    32/ Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

    #21. Minnesota

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 4,946

    Estimated total spending generated: $41,907,458

    Estimated tax revenue: $3,008,956

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2013

    In a case similar to the one surrounding a Colorado baker recently heard by the Supreme Court, a U.S. District Court ruled that a pair of Minnesota videographers could not post a statement on their website refusing to film same-sex weddings. This couple founded their media company to “magnify Christ like a telescope,” The New York Times reported.

  • Tim Evanson // Wikimedia Commons
    33/ Tim Evanson // Wikimedia Commons

    #20. Connecticut

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 3,693

    Estimated total spending generated: $46,162,500

    Estimated tax revenue: $2,769,750

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2007

    Unlike many states that are making it possible for adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT+ couples, Connecticut’s child welfare agency is actively recruiting members of the LGBT+ community to adopt and foster children. This initiative is similar to other local programs, such as those in New York and San Francisco.

  • Another Believer // Wikimedia Commons
    34/ Another Believer // Wikimedia Commons

    #19. Oregon

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 5,887

    Estimated total spending generated: $47,278,497

    Estimated tax revenue: not available

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    Earlier this year, Oregon State's Department of Education found instances of discrimination against LGBT+ students in the school district of North Bend. The violations include forcing students to read passages from the Bible.

  • Jeffrey Beall // Wikimedia Commons
    35/ Jeffrey Beall // Wikimedia Commons

    #18. Colorado

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 6,212

    Estimated total spending generated: $50,348,260

    Estimated tax revenue: $3,720,736

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    Same-sex marriage in Colorado has recently become a national headline, as the case of a baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex marriage celebration was heard by the Supreme Court. The Court ruled in favor of the baker.

  • GoToVan // Wikimedia Commons
    36/ GoToVan // Wikimedia Commons

    #17. Nevada

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 3,570

    Estimated total spending generated: $52,462,936

    Estimated tax revenue: $4,160,311

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    Las Vegas, a locale famous for surprise weddings, has invited LGBT+ couples to be equally spontaneous as well. A new Las Vegas tourism ad campaign features a short film chronicling the marriage of a same-sex couple that met in the city years earlier.

  • Equality Michigan // Wikimedia Commons
    37/ Equality Michigan // Wikimedia Commons

    #16. Michigan

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 7,299

    Estimated total spending generated: $53,217,009

    Estimated tax revenue: $3,193,021

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2015 (Supreme Court decision)

    Although Michigan is home to a large LGBT+ population, much of the state’s community is still unsupportive; in fact, marriage can only legally be certified by clergy members and judges. A new lawsuit by the Center for Inquiry is challenging this law.

  • Another Believer // Wikimedia Commons
    38/ Another Believer // Wikimedia Commons

    #15. Virginia

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 7,122

    Estimated total spending generated: $60,195,104

    Estimated tax revenue: $3,200,000

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    In 2016, two years after Virginia legalized same-sex marriage, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that a gay couple can be legally considered to have “a relationship analogous to marriage.” This decision took a step toward recognizing same-sex and opposite-sex couples to the same extent of the law.

  • Kiteinthewind // Wikimedia Commons
    39/ Kiteinthewind // Wikimedia Commons

    #14. Arizona

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 7,909

    Estimated total spending generated: $61,895,834

    Estimated tax revenue: $5,056,890

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    In a case similar to the Colorado baker decision, an appeals court in Arizona ruled against a stationary and custom card shop in Phoenix that refused to create content for the weddings of same-sex couples.  Here, the court’s decision stated that the store’s merchandise is not customized for every event, and thus not an expression of free speech that must be protected at the expense of discrimination against LGBT+ people.

  • Silar // Wikimedia Commons
    40/ Silar // Wikimedia Commons

    #13. Maryland

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 7,800

    Estimated total spending generated: $63,785,000

    Estimated tax revenue: $4,706,000

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2013

    Richard Madaleno, a candidate for the governor of Maryland, recently released an ad chronicling the ways in which he has stood up to President Donald Trump: sponsoring legislation to fund Planned Parenthood, sponsoring a ban on assault weapons and kissing his husband. Madaleno was the first openly gay member of the Virginia General Assembly, and if elected, would be the state’s first gay governor.

  • Kiteinthewind // Wikimedia Commons
    41/ Kiteinthewind // Wikimedia Commons

    #12. North Carolina

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 9,155

    Estimated total spending generated: $64,442,045

    Estimated tax revenue: $4,446,501

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    North Carolina is a key site of debates over the relationship between marriage and religion, as evidenced by a recent court ruling that allows magistrates in the state to refuse to marry LGBT+ couples. Meanwhile, students at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill started a campus dialogue on the subject through a panel they hosted last month.

  • Media Gamut // Flickr
    42/ Media Gamut // Flickr

    #11. Ohio

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 9,842

    Estimated total spending generated: $70,842,716

    Estimated tax revenue: $5,036,917

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2015 (Supreme Court decision)

    Ohio, similar to many other states, does not have clear legislature prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. A current bill that would ensure these protections has been backed by business organizations in the state, such as the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

  • varnent // Wikimedia Commons
    43/ varnent // Wikimedia Commons

    #10. Georgia

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 10,659

    Estimated total spending generated: $78,823,305

    Estimated tax revenue: $5,493,984

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2015 (Supreme Court decision)

    The Georgia Senate recently passed a bill that would allow adoption agencies to turn away gay couples. Still, members of the state’s LGBT+ community are thriving, such as this lesbian couple in Columbus, Georgia, who celebrated Mother’s Day with their three children last month.

  • Kiteinthewind // Wikimedia Commons
    44/ Kiteinthewind // Wikimedia Commons

    #9. New Jersey

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 9,568

    Estimated total spending generated: $82,500,000

    Estimated tax revenue: $5,800,000

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2013

    In 2013, the first same-sex marriages in New Jersey were officiated by Cory Booker, mayor of Newark at the time, and now the state’s junior Senator. Booker remains a strong pro-LGBT+ advocate who currently calls attention to homophobia in the national government.

  • Seattle City Council // Wikimedia Commons
    45/ Seattle City Council // Wikimedia Commons

    #8. Washington

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 9,501

    Estimated total spending generated: $88,454,310

    Estimated tax revenue: $7,958,458

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2012

    The U.S. Supreme Court has made a decision on the Colorado baker case, and is now tackling another similar case: that of a florist in Washington who declined to make an arrangement for a same-sex wedding. The baker decision was specific to that case, so whether the court decides to hear this flower case, or push it to next session or a lower court, could have broad implications for the debate over religious freedom.

  • Skinjara // Wikimedia Commons
    46/ Skinjara // Wikimedia Commons

    #7. Pennsylvania

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 11,168

    Estimated total spending generated: $92,094,120

    Estimated tax revenue: $5,838,767

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2014

    LGBT+ candidates in Pennsylvania have been victorious in local primaries: If elected in the general election, Malcolm Kenyatta would become the first openly LGBT+ person of color in the Pennsylvania state legislature, and Kristin Seale would become the first queer state legislator. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Pride, the state’s largest Pride event, is celebrating past victories and looking to raise awareness for anti-discrimination legislation.

  • puroticorico // Wikimedia Commons
    47/ puroticorico // Wikimedia Commons

    #6. Illinois

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 11,525

    Estimated total spending generated: $103,171,800

    Estimated tax revenue: $8,480,700

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2013

    In 2013, Illinois became the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Conflict with religion still occurs in the state, however: Last summer, a church in Chicago expelled one of its members after she married her female partner.

  • Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism // Flickr
    48/ Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism // Flickr

    #5. Massachusetts

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 12,167

    Estimated total spending generated: $111,196,646

    Estimated tax revenue: not available

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2004

    Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, with a historic court decision in the fall of 2003. In a New York Times article that looks back on this decision, former Justice Margaret Marshall, who wrote the Massachusetts decision, expressed that she believed a key part of growing public support for same-sex marriage is the marriage ceremonies themselves. Marshall added that these ceremonies represent the happiness of LGBT+ people.

  • Tim Evanson // Flickr
    49/ Tim Evanson // Flickr

    #4. Texas

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 23,200

    Estimated total spending generated: $181,586,400

    Estimated tax revenue: $14,799,292

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2015 (Supreme Court decision)

    Houston’s first unofficial Pride event was held in 1976, when the University of Houston’s Gay Activist Alliance marched through the city to commemorate the Stonewall riots in New York seven years prior. The city’s Pride parade is now the fourth-largest in the country and the 15th largest in the world. The state may also soon have its first openly gay governorand first Latina governorlater this year if Lupe Valdez defeats incumbent Greg Abbott.

  • Grow By Love // Flickr
    50/ Grow By Love // Flickr

    #3. Florida

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 24,248

    Estimated total spending generated: $182,247,968

    Estimated tax revenue: $12,064,815

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2015

    In a recent Orlando Sentinel article looking back on the history of LGBT+ activism in Florida, reporter Scott Maxwell called the city “a bastion of equality and inclusion,” but noted that overall, the state is not. Florida was one of the last states to maintain a ban on same-sex couples adopting children, and has not yet been able to pass anti-discrimination legislation.

  • Steven Pisano // Flickr
    51/ Steven Pisano // Flickr

    #2. New York

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 24,466

    Estimated total spending generated: $228,561,400

    Estimated tax revenue: $19,359,150

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2011

    Same-sex marriage was legalized in New York state with a legislative victory in 2011; hundreds of couples registered to marry on the first day, including 823 in New York City alone. NYC’s Pride march is returning for its 48th year, featuring a new route and colorful subway ads.

  • Ingrid Taylar // Flickr
    52/ Ingrid Taylar // Flickr

    #1. California

    Estimated number of marriages in 2015-2018: 51,319

    Estimated total spending generated: $392,300,000

    Estimated tax revenue: $31,400,000

    Year same-sex marriage was legalized: 2008

    California has followed a complex road to legalizing same-sex marriage. A state Supreme Court decision ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional in June 2006, and couples were able to marry starting in June 2008; however, a state constitutional amendment overruled this court decision in November of that year. In 2010, Vaughn Walker, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, ruled that this amendment was unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court backed him up in 2013, finally making same-sex marriage legal permanently. In a retrospective article published on ReligiousLiberty.TV, Jason Hines wrote that this decision has not impacted the broader religious liberty of churches, as some religious groups had feared.

2018 All rights reserved.