July 24, 2012  
                                                                                                No. 276


More Than 8,200 Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Issued in First Year of Same-Sex Marriage

             Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta and New York City Clerk Michael McSweeney today announced that one year after the enactment of the Marriage Equality Act, same sex-marriages in New York City have generated an estimated $259 million in economic impact and $16 million in City revenues. At least 8,200 same-sex marriage licenses were issued in the first year, accounting for more than 10 percent of the 75,000 marriage licenses issued in New York City since July 24 last year. The economic impact survey was conducted by NYC & Company and the City Clerk’s Office and found same-sex marriages generated significant additional revenue for New York City’s tourism industry with more than half of same-sex couples holding wedding celebrations in venues across the five boroughs. More than 200,000 guests traveled from outside of the City to same-sex marriage events and more than 235,000 hotel room nights were booked at an average daily room rate of $275. The announcement was made at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau, where the Mayor and Speaker also were joined by Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell, City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director for Freedom to Marry, and Nic Faitos, Senior Partner of Starbright Floral Design, a small business that has seen a rise in revenue the last year.

            “Marriage equality has made our City more open, inclusive and free – and it has also helped to create jobs and support our economy,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “New York has always been a great place to get married and since the passage of the Marriage Equality Act, we’re welcoming more and more couples, their families and friends from around the country and the world.”

            “The widespread reach marriage equality has had in New York extends beyond the fundamental need to make sure all people are free to marry the person of their choosing,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Our economy has also reaped the benefits full equality has to offer and the impressive economic impact same-sex marriage has and will continue to have on our City is a boon for New York and for all those who fought so hard to make equality a reality in New York State.”

            “Following the historic passage of the Marriage Equality Act, NYC & Company launched the NYC I DO communications campaign domestically and through our global network of 18 international representative offices to promote the City as a vibrant and attractive weddings destination,” said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta. “New York City is the perfect backdrop for all couples to tie the knot and share in one of life's most important moments.”

            “As the legislative sponsor of the Marriage Equality Act, I couldn’t be more proud that so many same-sex couples have taken advantage of their long-awaited right to marry across our great state this past year,” said Assembly Member O’Donnell. “Today is my husband John’s birthday, and after 31 years with me, it is the first birthday he is celebrating as a married man. Happy birthday to John and congratulations to the thousands of other LGBT New Yorkers now able to share important life milestones as married couples!”
            “This Saturday, my fiancé and I will join the thousands of LGBT New Yorkers who got married in the past 12 months,” said Council Member Van Bramer, one of New York City Council’s openly gay elected officials. “Love and commitment are worthy of celebration and New York City is once again at the forefront of equality. We are all enriched when people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and yes, marry the one they choose.”

            “Marriage equality is good for New York!” said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Queens).  “All along, LGBT people have known that the passage of the Marriage Equality Act by the New York State legislature last year would have a positive impact on all New Yorkers lives.  For LGBT people, marriage equality obviously has a direct, personal impact but it has also been good for New York’s economy. And that is good for all of us.   I am so pleased that New York has taken the lead on this issue which I hope in a few years won’t even be an issue anywhere else in this country.”

            “Extending the freedom to marry to loving and committed same-sex couples in New York was a tremendous and transformative moment for the state, the nation, and the world,” said Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director of Freedom to Marry. “Thousands of couples have since professed their love in front of family and friends in New York, affirming and strengthening their commitment to one another and making the universal promise to share all of life’s joys and sorrows together.  It's no surprise that the freedom to marry has had a powerful economic impact on New York City.  Cities that cultivate diversity are the places where great ideas thrive, where today's entrepreneurs are eager to build the businesses of tomorrow.”

            Since the Marriage Equality Act went into effect on July 24, 2011, 67 percent of same-sex couples held wedding receptions at restaurants, homes, hotels or catering halls in the five boroughs, with 296,500 guests and 201,600 of them traveling from outside of the City.

Only half of same-sex couples had a budget in mind when planning their wedding, but they averaged costs of $9,039 for their wedding celebration and 31 percent spent $10,000 or more. Approximately 235,900 hotel room nights were booked, more than 40,000 wedding announcements were printed, and 47,445 wedding favors were purchased all adding up to additional revenue for New York City.

To make New York City the top wedding and honeymoon destination for all couples across the world, NYC & Company, New York City’s official marketing and tourism organization, launched the NYC I Do campaign immediately following the passage of the Marriage Equality Act. The multi-channel, global communications initiative promotes the attractiveness of the five boroughs as a place for all couples to get married or enjoy their honeymoon. NYC & Company created the website,, to provide New Yorkers and visitors with important information about how to get married in the city. The site also lists special hotel offers for couples searching for a wedding venue or accommodations for out-of-town guests, and highlights some of NYC & Company’s more than 2,000 members including restaurants, hotels, bridal shops, florists, and gift registries who provide wedding goods and services.

Starbright Floral Design is a small business with 25 fulltime employees located in Manhattan. It has participated in NYC I Do and reported an uptick in business since the enactment of marriage equality.
            “With more couples marrying in New York, our business has seen a jump in the last 12 months,” said Nic Faitos, Starbright Floral Design Senior Partner. “By working with NYC I Do, we have connected with couples planning their wedding and helped be a part of their celebration.”

From July 25, 2011 to March 31, 2012, the research firm, ARA, recruited and interviewed more than 1,700 randomly selected same-sex and opposite-sex couples at the City Clerk’s Offices across all five boroughs. Confidential online surveys were then sent to all panelist volunteers between August 2011 and March 2012. The survey was designed to identify major expenditures for wedding receptions in New York City and had a response rate of 20.5 percent.

One Year Marriage Numbers

According to the Clerk’s Office, from July 24, 2011 to July 16, 2012, approximately 75,000 total marriage licenses have been issued in New York City. The City no longer requires couples identify sex on the license application, but many couples choose to self indentify.

Of couples who choose to indentify, 58,136 were heterosexual couples and 7,184 were same-sex couples. A total of 9,809 couples did not specify genders

Of the 7,184 same-sex couples, 3,898 were male couples and 3,286 were female.

Contact:     Kimberly Spell/NYC & Company     212-484-1270