In the US, gay marriage is quickly becoming legal, state by state all over the country. Just a few years ago, only a couple states had legalized gay marriage. But now, 19 of them, plus the District of Columbia have legalized the act, making marriage equal for all folks in those places. There’s still a long way to go until every single person has the freedom to marry the one they love, but we’re closer now than ever before to marriage equality.
44% of the US population lives in a state where gay marriage is legal, and 49% of the population lives in a state with some type of protection for gay couples. 12 states have struck down gay marriage bans which doesn’t legalize gay marriage, but it’s a big step in the right direction. 4 states have issued limited, pro marriage rulings but don’t yet allow full marriages, while 3 other states offer some form of protection for gay couples. Colorado offers a Civil Union, and Wisconsin and Nevada offer a domestic partnership.
“When the government recognizes gay people, it gives them permission to be more out,” Kareem Jones, a legal analyst at DiscreetGayDating.com explained. “I remained in the closet until gay marriage was first legalized in Iowa. That experience really had an impact on me. As more states legalize, more gay guys feel supported and have the courage to come out and be themselves.”
Wedding Industries and the Economy
States that have legalized gay marriage have seen a big boom in the economy due to increased business in the wedding industry. In the first year that New York State had gay marriage legalized, New York City alone saw a $259 million rise in its economy as residents flocked there to get married with the city’s vistas as a romantic backdrop. Studies based on the statistics of other states suggest that Texas would add $180 million to its economy by legalizing, and $42 million would be added to Minnesota’s if they did the same.
Many large corporations support gay marriage publicly. This is partially because in states where the act is not legal, companies have a big headache trying to get tax paperwork right for couples who are co-habitating. This is especially difficult for national corporations who may have employees in each and every state. It’s also because some companies, like Apple and Nike, feel that treating gay people as second class and denying those marriages is not productive to businesses and prevents them from recruiting top candidates.