Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gay Marriage Good For Maryland Economy Imparct Study Shows.

Gay Marriage Good For Maryland Economy Impact Study Showsby Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 28, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET
(Baltimore, Maryland) As pressure mounts on Maryland lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage a study released Wednesday a University of California think-tank shows that allowing gay and lesbian couples to wed would have a positive economic impact on the state.
A second study shows there are more than 15,000 same-sex households in the state.
Both studies were conducted by the Williams Institute, a national think tank dedicated to the field of sexual orientation law and public policy, at the UCLA School of Law.
The impact study shows that although there would be only a small income tax benefit to the state, revenues from same-sex weddings would be about $94 million per year, providing a major boost to Maryland businesses and the state economy. This spending could generate approximately $14 million in tax revenue over three years, the institute said.
The report also found that extending marriage rights to same-sex couples would reduce the State¹s expenditures on means-tested public benefit programs by about $1.5 million annually.
The institute said that about 7,800 of Maryland¹s same-sex couples would marry if permitted.
In its report on families headed by gay and lesbian couples the institute used data from the latest US Census.
"In 2000, there were 11,243 same-sex couples living in Maryland. By 2005, the number of same-sex couples increased to more than 15,600," the report said.
There are more than 178,000 gay, lesbian, and bisexual people - single and coupled - currently living in Maryland.
Approximately seven percent of adopted children in Maryland live with a gay or lesbian parent, the institute found.
The City of Baltimore reported the most same-sex couples at 2,118 - or about 1 percent of all coupled households.
The report found that same-sex parents have fewer economic resources that married parents.
"Individuals in same-sex couples in Maryland are more likely to be employed than married individuals: 80% of individuals in same-sex couples are employed, compared to 70% of married individuals," but "the median household income of same-sex couples with children is $41,100, or 45% lower than that of married parents."
The issue of recognizing gay and lesbian relationships fell to the legislature in September when the Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision and upheld the state law barring gay and lesbian couples from marrying (story) but said that lawmakers could consider ways of recognizing same-sex pairs.
Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch, a Democrat, has said he is in favor of civil unions but not marriage. (story)
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D) has said he would fight such a bill and Republicans in both houses are touting a potential constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions.
A public opinion poll released last month shows that support among Maryland voters for civil unions has grown to almost 60 percent, but when asked about same-sex marriage a slight majority continue to be opposed.

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