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First year of same-sex marriages a boon to city economy

City Council Speaker Quinn exchanges vows with partner

City Council Speaker Quinn exchanges vows with partner Kim Catullo (William Alatriste) Credit: City Council Speaker Quinn exchanges vows with partner Kim Catullo (William Alatriste)

Since same-sex marriage was legalized in the state last year, thousands of gay New Yorkers have said "I do," and their historic nups have been a financial boon to the Big Apple.

Between all the flowers, cakes and catering, same-sex marriages have brought the city an estimated $259 million in economic impact greatly beating estimates, according to a study by the city tourism agency, NYC & Company, and the cityclerk's office.

Since since the Marriage Equality Act was enacted on July 24 2011, at least 8,200 gay and lesbian couples have tied the knot, accounting for over 10% of all marriage licenses issued in New York City.

"I don't think there's any question that we're on the right side of history," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg Tuesday, commemorating the year anniversary of the law at a news conference outsidef the city clerk's office. "Marriage equality has made our city more open, inclusive and free-and it has also helped to create jobs and support our economy."

The $259 million is far greater than the estimate last year by the state Senate's Independent Democratic Conference, which predicted same-sex marriages would rake in $311 million statewide over three years.

Since last July, 67% of same-sex couples from New York held wedding receptions within the five boroughs, spending an average of over $9,000. Their 200,000 out-of-town guests spent the night in over 235,000 hotel rooms for an average of $275 per night.

"How much Champagne was sold? I don't know. That's my business, I helped consume it," joked Bloomberg.

Weddings Anywhere NYC, a wedding planning company, has noticed a significant uptick in business over the past year. Owner Stephen Ecstrom said that marriage equality has certainly brought more same-sex couples to New York to wed, it's made the city more a popular spot for destination weddings.

"It's really put us on the map," he said.

Likewise, Nicodemos Feitus, the owner of Starbright Floral Design in Chelsea, said that one in every 10 to 15 weddings the store designed in the past year was for a same-sex couple.

"I hope people who thought that marriage equality would somehow cause the end of the world see that it's done quite the opposite," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who married her longtime partner in May. "It's helped put people to work, helped restaurants, helped catering halls, helped others." 

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