FARGO – Legalizing same-sex marriage in North Dakota would generate an estimated $1.9 million in additional spending over three years, the smallest bump in spending that legal gay marriage would produce in any state, according to a recent study.
The new spending expected would pale in comparison to the economic jolt predicted in larger states, the study by researchers at the Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles shows.
For instance, Ohio, with a population of 11.5 million people, would see $70.8 million in new spending in its first three years of same-sex marriage. In Michigan, a state with 9.9 million people, the first three years would mean $53.2 million in additional spending.
But North Dakota would also see a slighter increase in spending than states just as conservative and sparse, the study found.
“The reason the impact is lower in North Dakota than other states is primarily because there are fewer same-sex couples there,” said Christy Mallory, one of the study’s authors.
According to a 2012 Gallup surveys, only 1.7 percent of adults in North Dakota identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
In neighboring South Dakota, the institute estimated $2.4 million in new spending. In Wyoming, a state with a smaller population than North Dakota, the estimate was $2.4 million. Alaska, with only about 12,000 more people, could expect to see $8 million in spending on same-sex marriage. U.S Supreme Court inaction recently upheld a ruling that legalized same-sex marriages in Alaska.
North Dakota is one of a handful of states that has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, though court rulings and new state laws are making legalization increasingly more common.