Is there a prize for the dumbest argument for same-sex marriage? If so, the Australian state of Tasmania is definitely in the running. Here it is: it’s worth A$100 million in tourism.

A visiting American economist, Professor Lee Badgett of the University of Massachusetts, says that Tasmania will have a windfall if it legalises same-sex marriage ahead of other states. She believes that several hundred local couples and about 15,000 interstate couples would marry in Tasmania.

“Weddings are a big day in the lives of people and they end up spending quite a bit of money when they take on the responsibility of planning that day. If Tasmania were the first and only state to allow same-sex couples to marry, we would expect hundreds of couples coming here to Tasmania to spend money on their weddings.

“We know many couples would be willing to come here, in fact they would be eager to come here if it was the only place they could do so. They would come here and spend money on flowers, on restaurant meals… spending as much as, in our estimates, $6,000 per wedding.”

Greens leader Nick McKim said legalising same-sex marriage was a “no brainer” for Tasmania. “This is a massive economic boost targeted at small business without it costing the budget a red cent,” he told the Hobart Mercury. The state’s Labor Premier, Lara Giddings, is also a strong supporter of same-sex marriage. 

But is marriage about discount wedding receptions or is it about building an institution in which the next generation can be raised safely? Or have I missed something? ~ Hobart Mercury, Feb 24  

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia.