Same-sex marriage ruling could help Jacksonville economy

By Francesca Amiker - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - On Tuesday, dozens, if not hundreds, of same-sex couples will be in line eagerly waiting to be issued a marriage license. Though some people oppose the ruling of the federal judge, others are saying it could have a major and positive impact on Jacksonville's economy.

Rachel Smith McMurray is known by many as "That Wedding Lady" and has performed hundreds of commitment ceremonies. Smith McMurray said after Tuesday, big bucks are coming to Jacksonville.

"Jacksonville is a prime destination for destination weddings, and we're talking a lot of money," she said.

"Twenty to Twenty-five percent of my business comes from the gay community," McMurray said. "Seventy percent of my business is coming from a place outside of Florida. So for every license drawn, that's $93.50 to the county that it's drawn in."

Starting on Tuesday, when county clerks will have the legal duty to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, Smith Mcmurray said Jacksonville will have new market opportunities in the already $51 billion wedding industry.

"We're talking about a real impact to our local merchants," McMurray said. "We're not talking about big business. We're talking about the guy up the street who's running a floral shop or a bakery and that's real dollars."

Nerdwallet.com took a look at how local economies would benefit if same sex marriage was legal throughout the united states. Florida showed one of the highest projected economic gains that would bring in nearly 118 million dollars in projected spending.

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