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Same-Sex Marriages Could Boost Local Businesses

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- With the same-sex marriage law going into effect on Sunday, July 24, gay couples from across the country will be able to wed in the State of New York for the first time.

But couples waiting to get married may not be the only ones excited about the new law. Businesses in New York may very well experience a boost to their revenue from same-sex couples planning out their weddings. Florists, caterers and other marriage-related industries expect an increase in customers with the legalization of gay marriage.

"It's not really an influx of business, but more an influx of inquiries," said Mike Silvestri, of Riverview Caterers in Hastings-on-Hudson. "A lot more people have been calling in looking to get married."

With so many industries directly tied into large celebratory events such as weddings, the potential could be substantial for local businesses.

"I imagine that it'll be a fairly big increase," Silvestri said. "Maybe a 10 percent increase."

David Juhren is the Executive Director at the LOFT , a White Plains-based community services center for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals in the lower Hudson valley. Juhren said there are a lot of same-sex couples waiting to get married and it could be huge for New York.

“First of all they will bring in, it’s estimated, about a little under $400 million dollars [for the state of New York],” Juhren said.

Such a potentially large impact on local businesses has been one of the driving incentives for passing the law, Juhren said.

“That’s been one of our arguments for years to is the amount of revenue that would be generated by marriage equality,” he said.

Bloomberg News reported earlier this month that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to launch a campaign to advertise the city as a place for destination marriages for gay couples. In the article a spokeswoman for NYC & Company said that the new "NYC I Do" campaign would create millions of dollars for the city's tourism industry.

Citing a 2007 report from former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson, an article in The New York Daily News said approximately 56,000 couples would wed in New York if the same-sex marriage bill were to be passed.

Now that the bill is law, all of those weddings should translate into a lot of money.

Some businesses haven't seen a physical return on that expectation yet, but there are signs of an increase on the way.

Others are still waiting for the anticipated increase in revenue though. Carole Bennett, owner of Flowers by Carole in Dobbs Ferry, is still waiting for the additional business.

"No not yet, I keep thinking that I will [get more customers], but nothing really yet," she said.

What kind of impact do you think same-sex marriages will have in Westchester County? Let us know below in the comments section or on our Facebook page or Twitter .

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