Gay marriages could boost business

FRESNO, California

Fresno flower shop owners Michael Butler and John Tipton were among thousands of gay couples that married in 2008, when the state briefly allowed gay marriages. "Being in the flower business, we had lots of flowers," said Tipton. "So it was a really wonderful time and we got to celebrate with our friends and family."

They hope their business will be a part of other gay couples' special day, now that same-sex marriages will once again be legal in California. "I hope I have some booming business," said Butler. "I think it will be great for everyone in the wedding business -- it will be a larger pool to draw from."

According to research conducted at UCLA ... allowing gay couples to marry, could generate 492-million dollars in business spending in the next three years in California. That's a welcome boost to most any business that has been impacted by the slow economy. Like the Piccadilly Inn in east central Fresno, which has hosted gay wedding receptions and commitment ceremonies in the past. "More business which is great for any business here, whether it's your deejay, your cake," said Piccadilly Inn's Amy Glover. "To have every Saturday booked or every Friday night booked is a great opportunity."

Tina Moran is the owner of "Oh So Swank"-- a bridal boutique and special events business, "In our industry we don't get a lot of return business, so finding new areas and new demographics from which to pull from are really fantastic."

While Moran is looking forward to a possible influx in clients, she is also cognisant of the fact that her decision to welcome this 'new business' may not sit well with everyone. "It is a touchy subject and there has been a lot of controversy over it-- so obviously I have to be sensitive to my existing clients that we are not going to be alienating one group or another."

The UCLA study estimates about 37-thousand gay couples would like to marry in the next three years ... and about 47-thousand would travel from out-of-state to California to marry.

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