- Associated Press - Monday, July 20, 2015

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas businesses expect to cash in as the legalization of same-sex marriages leads to an influx of couples planning weddings.

Photographers, florists, hair stylists and bakeries in Wichita say they’re eager to get in on the new business in the wake of last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the Wichita Eagle reported (https://bit.ly/1KggNbf ).

Professional photographer Chris Brubaker was shooting 100 Wichita-area marriages in a year at one point, but business has declined since 2008 amid an increase in amateur photographers. He is now down to just 30 weddings a year.

“They will hire just like a man and wife would,” Brubaker said of gay couples. “They would add to the photography business - and the wedding business overall.”

If half of the state’s estimated 4,000 same sex couples get married in the first three years that it’s legal to, the Kansas economy could see a $14.1 million boost on wedding, tourism and sales tax revenues, according to the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Policy. The 2014 report from the Los Angeles-based think tank also estimated same-sex weddings in Kansas will generate $1.15 million in local and state sales tax revenue and 75 to 225 jobs within three years.

“There’s pent-up demand for marriages,” said Christy Mallory, one of the report’s co-authors. “A lot of these people have been in relationships for a long time, and they would have gotten married before, but they couldn’t.”

Riverside Hair Salon advertises on Facebook as being LGBT-friendly, drumming up business for commitment ceremonies.

“Part of it is our neighborhood, and part of it is that everybody knows they’re accepted here,” owner Tammy Kelley said.

Claire Toubia of Bagatelle Bakery said she is baking a cake for a same-sex couple’s August ceremony. The three tiers, each a different flavor, will cost $180.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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