Bring On Marriage Equality, it’s Good for Business
As a naturalised Australian from the Philippines, I have always been proud of Australia’s role as an early pioneer and leader in LGBTI rights. All the more reason why I have become increasingly dumbfounded, and deeply disappointed, in how this country is still lagging behind 23 other countries of the world with regards to the introduction of Marriage Equality.
For one moment, let’s push aside the fact that a plebiscite is totally unnecessary, that Parliament already has the power to legislate on the Marriage Equality issue...
... or that 72 per cent of the public already supports Marriage Equality, a percentage higher than many countries with Marriage Equality...
... not to mention the fact that the fundamental human rights principle of equality states that civil marriage should be available, without discrimination, to all couples, regardless of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity....
... and that banning same-sex marriage is a form of social exclusion that adds yet another layer of stress and marginalisation to the LGBTI group....
Let us push all those human rights factors aside, because our government clearly has. What our politicos may prefer to focus on instead are the ‘hip pocket’ benefits that Marriage Equality will bring to this country.
According to AustralianMarriageEquality.org, Marriage Equality in Australia stands to inject more than $700m into the national economy through expenditure on weddings. For those who need more convincing, the figures that same-sex weddings has already generated in other parts of the world speak for themselves:
$111 million - The amount contributed to the Massachusetts economy over five years by Marriage Equality
$684 million and 2,200 jobs - The estimated economic benefit to California from Marriage Equality
$1.2 million - The projected increase in government revenue from Marriage Equality in Rhode Island
$7 million - The increased revenue state governments will receive from same-sex marriage license fees
300 - Number of businesses supporting same-sex marriages in Argentina
Mario Paez, President of Gay and Lesbian Tourism Australia (GALTA), the peak tourism body for LGBTI travellers, says, “We know many same-sex couples who could wait no longer, and took advantage of the equal marriage laws in New Zealand and beyond, much to the detriment of the Australian tourism sector.”
“We expect that when the Australian Marriage Act is finally changed to include same-sex couples, a huge benefit in tourism spend on Australian destination weddings and honeymoons will be witnessed and celebrated.”
"We expect that changes to the Marriage Act will reposition Australia in a favourable view to LGBTI travellers and honeymooners both from within Australia and around the globe.”
As for me, I’m tired of seeing the string of fabulous same sex weddings in other countries on Facebook and wondering how much Australian laws on Marriage Equality are costing our same sex couples in terms of their happiness and peace of mind, let alone the loss of revenue for our tourism industry.
I say: Bring on Marriage Equality, the people have already spoken.