The legalization of same-sex marriage in Iowa has provided an ecnomic boost to the state, according to a new study by UCLA.
The study was released by the Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA School of Law which focuses on sexual orientation and public policy. It found that since Iowa extended marriage rights to same-sex couples in 2009, the resulting spending on wedding arrangements and tourism provided an additional $12 to $13 million to the state and local economy.
The institute estimated that gay marriages have likely added between $858,000 and $930,000 in tax revenue to the state.
The release of the report, titled “Estimating the Economic Boost of Marriage Equality in Iowa: Sales Tax,” comes just weeks before the Iowa caucus, the first of the Republican presidential nominating votes.
None of the eight individuals currently running for president, including Barack Obama, have explicitly expressed support for gay marriage, but there is a strong opposition to the idea within the Republican Party.
Five of the seven candidates currently seeking the GOP nomination have come out in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Four of the candidates – Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum – have signed a pledge sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage promising their support for the federal ban.
Only Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman have said that they would not support such an amendment. Paul believes that marriage is a private matter and that the government should have no involvement. Huntsman says that while traditional marriage should be between a man and a woman, he does support civil unions for same sex couples.
Timothy Hagle, associate professor of political science at the University of Iowa, predicts that because the party is relatively united on the issue, this study won’t likely be a factor in the caucus outcome.
“It really shouldn’t effect what’s going on in this race because it’s not something that particularly divides the Republicans,” Hagle said.
Lee Badgett, one of the authors of the study, tells ABC News that timing of the studies release is a coincidence.