Tomorrow morning, the law legalizing same-sex marriage equality in the District of Columbia will take effect, having completed the Congressional review period without incident. That means at 8:30 AM tomorrow, same-sex couples will begin applying for marriage licenses at the DC Superior Court Marriage Bureau (expect long lines). Tuesday, March 9th will be the first day couples can legally receive their licenses and wed. Opponents have filed a last-ditch stay to the Supreme Court, but after four lower court rejections, legal experts tell me there is a very slim chance the Supreme Court will intervene.
Here in town, I've seen ads all over the place aimed at same-sex couples; wedding planning consultants; restaurants and hotels advertising their banquet spaces; flowers and more. One argument that I think is too-often underused is the economic impact of marriage equality. The marriage industry is a multi-million dollar industry. The Williams Institute at UCLA Law School put out a report last year estimating that DC marriage equality would result in $52.2 million economic spending in spending over three years, creating an estimated 700 jobs. That doesn't include $5.4 million in new revenue from things like sales taxes and license fees. Based on tourism data, the Williams Institute estimates over 10,000 couples will come from all over the country to get married in the nation's capital. Restaurants, hotels, and small businesses like flower shops will all appreciate the new business, especially in a recession. It's like a small stimulus shot in the arm for the area.
This has been a long time coming, and local activist Rick Rosendall has a piece naming a number of key folks who have laid the groundwork, and a bit on the legislative and legal strategy that has been going on for years. A number of them are very close friends and extremely strategic activists, and deserve a big h/t.
If you are a couple involved in politics (Hill staffers, local activists, etc.) and are applying for a license tomorrow, a few reporters have reached out looking to talk to same-sex political couples who planned to be married. Drop me a line at adambink at gmail dot com if you're interested (and congrats!).