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Same-sex wedding planners get a boost from Supreme Court

Stuart Gaffney (R) poses with his husband John Lewis (L) as celebrations ensued in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco, California, on June 26, 2012.

After the Supreme Court ruled yesterday to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), gay and lesbian couples who get married in  states where it's legal will enjoy not just marital bliss, but federal benefits. The ruling will also be a boost to the growing gay wedding planning industry.

Businesses like the website Iowa’s Gay Wedding Planner started popping up after the Iowa Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2009. Owner Scott Stevens helps gay and lesbian couples with everything from finding a caterer to applying for a marriage license. He’s already getting calls and e-mails from couples ready to tie the knot.

“They said we were just waiting for DOMA to fall,” Stevens says. Stevens also heard from a cupcake maker looking to advertise on his website.

Lee Badgett, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, isn’t surprised. She says now is a good time to get in on the same-sex wedding business.

Based on U.S. Census data, Badgett estimates about 500,000 gay and lesbian couples are living together in the U.S. but not yet married -- a big market opportunity for wedding planners and vendors.

“So it has the potential to create a big wedding boost. And that means more jobs; it means more tax revenues, for state and local governments,” she says.

It’s a lot of money, Badgett says, and a lot more happy couples.

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