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State economies benefiting most from same-sex marriage legalization

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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!"

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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