As of January 1, the state of New Hampshire is offering civil unions. Here’s an article from the Boston Globe about the potential economic boon of the new legislation.

Estimates of the long-term implications of joint filing and marriage penalties on taxes, as well as the cost of marriage licenses, vary significantly depending on state and study. In the short term, though, as large numbers of couples file for unions at once, including those visiting from other states, both tax and tourism boosts are expected to be significant:

A 2005 study predicted that legalizing same-sex marriage in New Hampshire would bring in an additional $630,000 a year in rooms and meals taxes in the first three years. The study, by The Williams Project on Sexual Orientation and Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law, was funded by two national gay rights groups. It estimated that half the 2,703 same-sex couples counted in the 2000 census in New Hampshire would choose to marry within three years if marriage was offered to them. A subsequent study in 2006 calculated that 1,352 gay couples, each spending about $7,600 — or one-quarter of the $30,510 straight couples spend on weddings in New Hampshire — would spend more than $10.3 million on weddings if they were allowed to marry.

Of course, the economic boost is just one positive upside to this kind of legislation.  I’ll leave you with the darling soundbite New Hampshire’s governor gave the Globe:

Gov. John Lynch, who signed the civil unions bill in May, said he’s not thinking about balance sheets on this issue. “I think it’s a good thing, but that’s not the reason to do it. The reason to do it is because it’s the right thing to do morally,” he said. “Regardless of the economic consequences, we should always try to do the right thing in New Hampshire.”