It’s not a subject that marriage-equality groups tend to trumpet on their websites, but gay couples are at the start of a divorce boom. One reason is obvious: More couples are eligible. According to a report by UCLA’s Williams Institute, nearly 50,000 of the approximately 640,000 gay couples in the U.S. in 2011 were married. (Another 100,000 were in other kinds of legal relationships, such as domestic partnerships.) The marriage rate, in states that allowed it, was quickly rising toward that of heterosexual couples: In Massachusetts as of that year, 68 percent of gay couples were married, compared with 91 percent of heterosexual couples. Another reason for the coming boom is that while first-wave gay marriages have proved more durable than straight ones (according to the Williams Institute, about one percent of gay marriages were dissolving each year, compared with 2 percent for different-sex couples), that’s not expected to last. Most lawyers I spoke to assume that the gap will soon vanish, once the backlog of long-term and presumably more stable gay couples have married, leaving the field to the young and impulsive.
On the day the Supreme Court handed two major victories to the gay rights movement, Rossmoor Pastries in Signal Hill put the finishing touches on a wedding cake celebrating gay marriage.
The cake — creamy white topped with two same-sex couples kissing — is the first of many that owner Charles Feder anticipates baking as gay weddings resume in the Golden State. He expects gay wedding celebrations, along with future anniversary fetes and baby showers, to be a boon to his business.
“When gay marriage was allowed previously in California, we did three or four [cakes] a week, about 20 a month,” Feder said. “I am expecting that to come back with a fury.”
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and denied an appeal to a ruling that struck down Proposition 8, which in 2008 banned gay marriages in California. Economists say those twin decisions could be a boon to both state and federal coffers, and grant new financial benefits to married gay couples.
In California alone, the state’s budget could see a gain of $40 million in wedding-related tax revenue over the next three years, according to the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA Law. The federal government could gain $500 million to $700 million annually in taxes with the influx of newly recognized marriages, the Congressional Budget Office said.
Written by Shan Li, Adolfo Flores and Ricardo Lopez. To read the full article, click here.