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NJ Marriages Could Bring 200 Million

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If the New Jersey legislature were to approve the pending same-sex marriage bill, it would bring the state's economy an additional $200 million in revenue over the next three years, according to a public policy organization.

The Williams Institute, a think tank that focuses on sexual orientation and public policy, estimates that the move would also create approximately 1,400 jobs and generate more than $15 million in tax revenue for the state. The organization released data based on a similar study in 2008, when only Massachusetts had granted marriage rights to gay couples. The new data, recognizing that more states allow same-sex marriage and would therefore compete with New Jersey, was used in a hearing before the state senate judiciary committee, which passed the marriage legislation on to the full senate by a 7-6 vote.

Williams Institute executive director Brad Sears said in a statement Tuesday that the new findings also make adjustments for the economic downturn that has occurred since the study two years ago. The recession has reduced the amount that couples in the U.S. are spending on weddings on average.

Sears added that some factors not reflected in the study could further boost the benefit to New Jersey. For instance, it did not use the standard formula that each dollar spent by tourists in the state generates $2 in additional spending.

"If these factors are taken into account, the total impact on ... New Jersey could be close to half a billion dollars," he said.

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