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DOMA Dismissed: Which Industries Stand to Benefit From Same-Sex Marriage?

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The LGBT community has serious buying power -- nearly $800 billion worth in this country alone. And that spending power may now be unleashed with the Supreme Court's pair of landmark decisions.

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The Government

On the local level, we saw how same-sex marriages put a few more bucks in New York City's coffers. In 2004, the Congressional Budget Office studied the economic impact on the federal budget and found that while Adam and Steve aren't going to wipe out the deficit, they will make a $1 billion dent every year over the next decade.

This figure absorbs the cost of the government no longer being permitted to deny health insurance coverage, the right to file joint federal tax returns, Social Security survivor benefits, estate tax waivers, and a number of perks to which partners with opposite reproductive organs are automatically entitled.

Divorce Lawyers

Assuming same-sex partners haven't unlocked the secret to lifelong commitment, these couples are likely to follow their straight counterparts' lead to Splitsville roughly 50% of the time. While it's true that, statistically speaking, gay and lesbian marriages currently enjoy twice the success rate as traditional ones, the credit is owed less to the demographic as a whole and more to a generation of already long-established relationships finally reaping their civil rights.

"[T]he partners getting married tend to be those who have already been together for some time," says attorney, mediator, and author Frederick Hertz. "They already have weathered the stormy middle years of coupledom, and they are consciously committed to being a family... Think about it -- the couples with shakier relationships are not likely to travel across state lines to get married -- and there certainly aren't any 'shotgun' marriages in the gay community!"

It's a cynical outlook, for sure. But when this groundbreaking nation-wide wave of equality has passed, the spousal stick-to-itiveness won't be far behind, thus paving a fresh path for another caravan of station wagon chasers.

Everybody Else?

Same-sex marriage is good for business -- all business -- or at least 278 of them representing nearly every sector of the economy. In the interest of fairness as well as their own bottom lines, the biggest corporations in the world, including Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), gay marriage marriage equality same sex marriageGoogle (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Nike (NYSE:NKE), Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), Viacom (NASDAQ:VIA), and Disney (NYSE:DIS), joined forces last February to sign a friend-of-the-court filing against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The brief read:

Our organizations are engaged in national and international competition - for talent, customers, and business. That competition demands teamwork, and teamwork thrives when the organization minimizes distracting differences, and focuses on a common mission. DOMA's core mandate-that we single out some of our married colleagues and treat them as a lesser class - upsets this imperative.

Now that the pleas from the business community and many Americans to overturn DOMA have been answered, perhaps those on the opposing side will learn to find comfort in a "If you can't beat 'em, profit off 'em!" approach.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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