Same-sex marriage law could bring in big money for the state - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Same-sex marriage law could bring in big money for the state

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- Just one week after Washington voters approved same-sex marriages, local businesses and churches are already getting requests for wedding ceremonies.

Referendum 74 was passing with 53 percent of the vote Monday night. Which means beginning December 9th, same-sex couples across the state can take their vows and say I do.

Pastor Bill Poores leads the congregation at Rainbow Cathedral in Yakima. Started in 1994, the church is open to people of all walks of life and sexual orientations. And as an openly gay, ordained minister, Pastor Bill says he's excited for future same-sex marriages, whenever couples decide they're ready.

"I haven't seen like a massive rush to get married. I think people are doing it cautiously. I think they're doing it with some thought," said Pastor Bill.

He has had a few same-sex couples contact him though. Many thinking about next summer as a date to tie the knot in Yakima.

And he says it's not only great for the community, but great for businesses too.

"I see it as an economic door opening," said Pastor Bill.

And he's not the only one. Researchers at UCLA say the new gay marriage law will bring in almost $90-million to Washington state in just the first three years.

"I have had several inquiries on weddings next year of same-sex couples," said Gaye McCarthy with the Yakima Area Arboretum.

McCarthy says she's talked to a few couples hoping to hold their weddings at the Yakima Arboretum. And at nearly $2,400 a piece, it's good money for the local non-profit.

"We will see all of the things that surround weddings in the heterosexual community, be involved in the gay community," said Pastor Bill. 

The same UCLA research institute says when Massachusetts legalized same-sex unions in 2004, their economy boomed by about $111-million in about four years.

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