American economics professor, Lee Badgett, is in Australia to discuss her research into the social and economic impacts of marriage equality in Europe and North America.
Professor Lee Badgett, who is an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts and Director of the Williams Institute at UCLA, has based her estimate on figures from those places overseas which have adopted marriage equality.
Prof Badgett said, "Our estimate is on conservative side because it is based on the lowest estimate of the number of Australian same-sex couples and how much they might spend."
"But even as a low-end figure $161 million is a substantial economic injection into the kinds of small businesses typically associated with weddings."
Prof Badgett’s research has also found that marriage equality has social benefits.
"Our research has shown that allowing same-sex couples to marry fosters greater commitment between same-sex partners, acceptance within their families and security and stability for their children.
"My message to Australian policymakers is that allowing same-sex couples to marry has had beneficial impact overseas by strengthening relationships, bringing families closer together and providing the broader community with an economic dividend."
"I also want to stress that the fearful predictions of some opponents of equality have not been borne out by the overseas experience."
Prof Badgett will release her economic impact statement at a special reception in her honour at Parliament House in Canberra this afternoon.
She will also speak at forums in Canberra and Sydney later in the week. More information is included below.
For more information or interviews with Prof Badgett contact Alex Greenwich on 0421 316 335 or Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.
Feb 27: 5.30-6.30pm, address to MPs and members of the press gallery, Private Dining Rooms 1&4, Australian Parliament House
Australian National University
Mar 1: 1.00-2.00pm, address at ANU Law School, Law Link Theatre ANU College of Law, Bdg 5, Fellows Rd
Whitlam Institute and Catalyst event
Mar 2: 5.00 ? 6.30 pm, address at the Whitlam Institute, Trades Hall Auditorium 4-10 Goulburn St (Haymarket) Sydney