Here's an overview of the potential economic impact of the marriage referendum. This video was released through thejournal.ie. A more detailed analysis is below.
The Marriage Equality referendum is on Friday. We have been asked to Vote No and to Vote Yes, and have been told to think about religion, equality, and the family. These arguments are fine, but they are divisive. So can we get around this so that we can speak objectively? One approach could be to look at the economic consequence of a Yes or No vote.
To do this, we firstly need to know how many same-sex couples we have, which we don’t: Census data doesn’t distinguish between ‘partner’ and ‘same-sex partner’ and so is of no use. And we also don’t know the size of the gay population, although oe recent estimate put this at 4%, which is close to estimates in Australia (3%) and the US (3.5%), and around the midpoint of UK estimates that range from 1.5% to 6%.
So if we take that 4% and apply it to the most recent estimate of the Irish population, we have a relatively conservative gay population of 184,384. By applying the current marriage rate of 4.8 per 1,000, we get 885 same-sex weddings for a full-year. Going with that and taking the cost of weddings (excluding honeymoons) in 2014 of €19,625 leaves us with a direct economic impact of same-sex wedding of €17m. This is shown below.
Proportion LGBT: 4%
Irish Population: 4,609,600
LGBT Population (est.): 184,384
Marriage Rate: 4.8 per 1,000
Same-sex Weddings (est.): 885
Wedding (excl. honeymoon): €19,625
Economic Impact: €17,368,972
Of course, this calculation is simplifying things. For example, the costs of opposite-sex weddings will increase because of greater demand for wedding services, and this will also result in higher costs for same-sex weddings. Also, in the first year there will be pent up demand so the impact will be higher then. So our figure is probably wrong (though maybe not in long term) and it is easily challenged. But it’s simple, and it gets us thinking.
And when we do think, we can see secondary effects
In relation to the state:
In relation to the state:
And in relation to the broad economy, we can expect:
So a Yes vote would clearly affect the state and the economy in ways we mostly can’t calculate. A No vote would keep things as they are and may cause harm to the economy.
Importantly, the direct economic benefit of €17m isn’t a small sum. It’s the same amount, for example, as the funding the state gives to 60 services for domestic and sexual violence, or the funding given to all of the state’s youth crime programmes, or the level of investment made by a pharma company in Galway that led to the creation of 100 jobs. But we know we can’t calculate the full impact of marriage equality. We can only guess and can only go on what has been said elsewhere: “marriage equality has made our City more open, inclusive and free – and it has also helped to create jobs and support our economy.”
So if you were undecided before, you can still think about the morals, or equality, or the family; but now, you can also think about the money.
 Irish Times / Ipsos MRBI Family Values 2015
 Cited in O’Brien, IT, 27 March 2015
 6% (Government, 2005), 1.5% (ONS, 2010), 1.5% (ONS, 2013)
 CSO, PEA15
 CSO, 31 March 2015
 MrsBe Irish Wedding Survey 2014
 Gay European Tourism Association, 2012
 EU FRA: EU LGBT Survey (summer 2012), 2013
 60 services for domestic and sexual violence - PQ 7692/15
 All of the state’s youth crime programmes - PQ 7753/15
 100-job pharma company investment in Galway - PQ 1184/15
 New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Press Release, July 2012