Gay marriage will send wedding spending "through the roof"
THE economies of Townsville and Magnetic Island could see a gay-led recovery if the Federal Government bows to pressure to legalise same-sex marriage.
Operators in the wedding industry are unsure just how much of a lasting impact it would have, although they do believe there could be a wedding season boom as couples who have been prevented from marrying look to tie the knot.
"There could be a rush," New Park Suit Hire and Menswear owner Ron McGinty said.
Business operators on Magnetic Island say it alone hosts up to 300 weddings a year worth up to $10 million.
Mr McGinty said same-sex marriage would provide a boost to his trade although he already supplied stock to commitment ceremonies, civil unions and same-sex couples getting married overseas.
If same-sex marriage were legalised in Australia, he said business would probably "go through the roof". "We are already busy but we would be even busier," he said.
Mr McGinty said there was a period during the Howard government when it appeared same-sex marriage would be legalised and he noted a rush of inquiries.
White House Bridal Boutique operator Deni McClure said it would definitely mean more business not just for suppliers to the wedding market in Townsville but Australia wide.
"It would definitely be good for the economy in Australia," Ms McClure said. "I'm sure all the wedding dress shops - unless they had strong opposition morally or religiously - would be saying, bring it on."
Ms McClure said she had sold dresses to a couple who went overseas to marry.
Magnetic Island marriage celebrant Bernadette Smith, who provides services for up to 80 weddings a year on the island, said it would be an interesting change to the market.
"I am looking forward to it happening, not just because I am a marriage celebrant, I agree with it," Ms Smith said.
"People who provide all of the services will benefit. Sydney calls it the pink dollar and I think people underestimate the pink dollar."
Ms Smith agreed there could be a rush of people wanting to marry. "There is a big opportunity for Magnetic Island and for Townsville. If we can make it a destination for any type of wedding, everybody benefits," she said.