The release of the Australians for Marriage Equality business campaign in Hume this week highlights the overwhelming support for marriage equality that exists within the local business community.
Marriage equality is obviously, first and foremost, about just that: equality.
But there is a strong economic argument for reform too.
The wedding industry injects two billion dollars a year into the economy.
The vast majority of that money stays locally.
If you get married in your own town or city, it helps your local economy, sometimes to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.
For example, the local tailor and dress shops make money out of attire; the local florist makes money off the flowers; you also need to hire a wedding planner and a caterer and photographer; you need to pay a celebrant; a band; a venue for both the ceremony and the reception; somebody to make the decorations; and you'll need a cake... the list goes on and on.
If you have friends and family travelling long distances to celebrate your big day, they'll have to stay overnight. That means hotels and motels make money.
They'll also have to eat while they're here. That means there’s a knock-on effect for restaurants and cafes.
With so many small businesses feeling the pinch from multi-nationals, why would we be exporting millions of dollars a year to New Zealand? And Canada? The United Kingdom? Or the United States of America? Wouldn't that money be better spent at home? Couldn't those dollars help employ Australians? The ban on marriage equality is actively hurting our economy.
If you need to save up to have an expensive overseas wedding, you're going to spend significantly less money locally. That fact is inescapable.
If you are saving up to travel overseas to attend your daughter or your son or your best friend's wedding, you're spending less at home too.
It doesn't make sense that we would rather punish mum and dad businesses and hurt our own economy rather than simply afford every couple the exact same rights under law.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
- Tom Sebo is a member of Australians for Marriage Equality in the Hume electorate, and a former Goulburn Post journalist.