Same-sex weddings good for NM economy?

UCLA Law study says yes

POSTED: 08:42 PM MDT Aug 30, 2013 
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

Hundreds of same-sex couples rushed to get marriage licenses in Dona Ana County this past week, but does this mean more business for the local economy?

"Neither one of us really ever thought about getting married. That was never a possibility growing up," Char Ullman told ABC-7.

Ullman and her partner, Carrie Hamblen, were fifth in line the day Dona Ana County started issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

The pair got married the same day.

Now they're planning a wedding ceremony at a public park in Las Cruces.

"We'll have an event here that's catered by a local restaurant, flowers purchased from local providers. Our cake will be a custom-made cake by a local entrepreneur," Hamblen said.

They estimate they'll spend around $2,500 -- and they call that a "bare-bones" ceremony.

Barb's Flowerland in Las Cruces has seen a spike in business the past week.

"We probably sent out about 10 arrangements to partners or congratulations, that sort of thing," said Barb Baumann, the owner of Barb's Flowerland.

A study by UCLA Law shows legalizing same-sex marriage means big business. It points to Massachusetts' economy, which saw a more than $100 million boost. That was just within the first five years that same-sex marriage was legal.

Ullman and Hamblen said they're looking forward to celebrating with family and friends.

They're also excited about other couples' ceremonies.

"Not to be too stereotypical, but a lot of gay men will really go all-out," Ullman said.

"It will look fabulous and we hope that we get invited to every single one of those," Hamblen said.

The UCLA study also shows legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide could mean an extra $70 billion for the wedding industry.