Anyone in a same-sex relationship in Arkansas knows that the state has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. For many people, this is a civil rights issue that denies them important rights and recognition for their families, but it is also an economic issue. As Arkansas’s economy continues to struggle, the money it could be earning through same-sex marriages makes this just as much a financial matter as it does a civil rights issue.

During this most recent election, three states approved same-sex marriage, and during the next three years they are expected to make $166.6 million. In addition to the taxes that the states will be able to levy against their now-married same-sex couples, there will be an influx of money into the wedding-planning business. With a large group of people who are now able to marry, more money is going to be spent on dresses, flowers, catering and other wedding necessities than in years past.

Moreover, these states are also expected to see an increase in tourism, as same-sex couples from neighboring areas come to get married. After Iowa started issuing same-sex marriage licenses, there were approximately 1,200 couples who arrived in the state to get married, and this doesn’t even take into consideration their guests and relatives.

If Arkansas legalized same-sex marriage, the economy would likely see similar growth. Unfortunately, it may be years before Arkansas starts issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Until that time, it is crucial that same-sex families use what laws and contracts that are available to them to protect themselves as best they can. Working with a family law attorney that has experience in nontraditional and same-sex family law issues can help to ensure that both partners are adequately safeguarded in the event of a breakup.

Source: The Dallas Voice, “TX losing $60 million annually due to ban on same-sex marriage,” Anna Waugh, Nov. 30, 2012

Please visit our website to learn more about the many same-sex family law issues in Arkansas.