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Survey: Same-sex weddings an economic boost to NYC

A survey of betrothed couples a year after same-sex marriage became legal in New York shows gay weddings have had an economic impact of $259 million on the city, tourism officials said Tuesday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg released that figure outside the city's marriage bureau, which is where approximately 1,700 gay and straight couples were selected to complete online surveys about their wedding expenditures. Bloomberg was flanked by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who became one of the most prominent elected officials to throw a same-sex wedding when she married her longtime partner this year.

At least 8,200 same-sex marriage licenses have been issued in the city since made legal, accounting for more than 10 percent of the 75,000 marriage licenses issued in the city during that time, officials said.

"Here we have a moment to celebrate a year of unadulterated joy," Quinn said. "What better thing could the government do than pass laws that make people equal?"

New York became the largest state to legalize gay marriage on July 24, 2011. Seven other states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriages.

The surveys were conducted by a research firm hired by New York City & Co., the city's official tourism and marketing arm. Each couple answered questions such as how much they spent, the number of guests they invited and from where those guests hailed.

Their answers were compiled and averaged out:

Each couple spent $9,000 on a wedding.

Each wedding brought in about $12,000 spent by all wedding guests combined. That amount could include transportation or a hotel stay.

Each wedding has a multiplier effect of about $10,500 on the city's economy. That includes any trickle-down effect such as the financial boon to restaurateurs who get hired for a wedding, who are then able to pay their rent or employees' wages.

More than 200,000 guests traveled from outside the city to weddings. More than 235,000 hotel rooms were booked at an average daily rate of $275.

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