The legislature is currently proposing bills to extend the legal definition of marriage to include same sex couples, and, and to grant those couples the same rights and benefits of marriage that opposite sex couples currently receive. Sumner La Croix and Lauren Gabriel’s paper, “The Impact of Marriage Equality on Hawai’i’s Economy and Government” examines the potential effects that would occur from the passage of these bills.
HOW MANY HAWAI‘I SAME-SEX COUPLES WILL MARRY?
- 2010 U.S. Census survey shows 3,262 self-declared same-sex couples in Hawai′i.
- We estimate that 50 percent of Hawai‘i same-sex couples will either marry or remain in civil union by the end of 2016 if same-sex marriages begin in Hawai‘i in 2014.
WILL MARRIAGE EQUALITY AFFECT HAWAI‘I TOURISM?
- There could be large increases in visitor spending by same-sex couples visiting Hawai’i to marry, by out-of-state guests for both resident and non-resident same-sex marriage ceremonies and celebrations, and by out-of-state same-sex couples visiting Hawai’i to honeymoon. Our estimates of total additional spending, including multiplier rounds of spending, range from $46 million to $258 million over the 2014-2016 period.
- The increase in visitor spending will be much larger if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns California’s Proposition 8 and same-sex marriages resume again in California. This is because the proportion of Hawai‘i’s visitors from states with same-sex marriages would increase from 17 percent to 53 percent.
- The increase in visitor spending will be much larger if the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings in the DOMA cases lead to federal recognition of same-sex marriages. This assumes that any U.S. same-sex couple marrying in Hawai‘i would gain federal rights adhering to marriage.
WILL MARRIAGE EQUALITY AFFECT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE COVERED BY PRIVATE AND PUBLIC EMPLOYER-PROVIDED HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS?
- Passage of same-sex marriage legislation is likely to lead to very small increases in the number of beneficiaries—fewer than 100 people—added to a spouse’s employer-provided health insurance and is not likely to lead to substantial increases in employee health insurance expenditures by either public or private employers.
WILL ENACTMENT OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY LEAD TO INCREASES IN STATE AND COUNTY G.E.T. REVENUES?
- Passage of same-sex marriage is likely to lead to substantial increases in state and county general excise tax revenues.
WILL ENACTMENT OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY INCREASE INCOMES OF SAME-SEX MARRIED COUPLES?
- If the US Supreme Court’s rulings in the DOMA cases lead to federal recognition of marriage, there will be substantial tax benefits to some married same-sex Hawai‘i couples who have a same-sex spouse as a beneficiary on the other spouse’s employer-paid health insurance and to other married same-sex couples who become eligible to draw spousal benefits from some federal programs.
– Sumner La Croix, Lauren Gabriel