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Same-sex marriage ruling could boost economy in Arizona

PHOENIX — Arizona could stand to gain tens of millions of dollars because of last week’s ruling clearing the way for same-sex marriage in the state, according to Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

“We don’t want thousands upon thousands of couples to spend their hard-earned money and marry elsewhere,” he said. “We’re now going to get people from around the world coming to Arizona to get married, and there isn’t a better place: We’ve got the Grand Canyon, Sedona and so many other beautiful places around the state.”

Data from the Williams Institute, a national think tank at the UCLA School of Law, concluded that allowing same-sex couples to wed in Arizona would generate almost $62 million in spending over the first three years.

The findings suggest sales tax revenue would increase by more than $5 million because of wedding ceremony and celebration spending.

According to 2010 U.S. Census data, 15,817 same-sex couples live in Arizona. Of those couples, an estimated 50 percent or 7,909 couples would choose to marry in the first three years.

To celebrate the ruling, Arizona’s historic Wrigley Mansion, a top destination for weddings and special events, is offering a same-sex dream wedding giveaway.

“The winning couple will get everything from flowers, a night at a local hotel, wedding cake, tuxedos or wedding dresses,” said Wrigley general manager Ben Sinon. “The ceremony and reception are for 100 guests here at the mansion. It’s a package valued at $60,000.”

On Oct. 27, same-sex couples are invited to an open audition at the hilltop property. Partners will have exactly two minutes to share their story with judges, who will then select finalists for a public, online vote on the mansion’s Facebook page.