Yes, legalizing same sex marriage is clearly the right thing to do from a civil rights standpoint. But a quick statistical tidbit from New York, whose legislature recently approved gay marriage, shows a surprising argument in favor of allowing marriage for all: It pumps lots of money into the state economy.

New York City's Economic Development Corporation calculates that the new gay marriages will make not only some happy couples, but $423 million for the city over the next three years, thanks to all the spending that surrounds weddings. That estimate is based on the assumption that half of New York City's 21,949 same-sex couples who live together will decide to get married.

According to the American Communities Survey, Portland is home to 6,054 same-sex couples who live together (that's 2,436 gay couples and 3,618 lesbian ones, if you're curious). Imagine if we pass a state constitutional amendment in 2012 allowing gay marriage and a third of those couples decide to get married. With the average wedding nationwide costing $24,000, those same-sex marriages would generate $48 million in economic activity for the city—that's a helluva lot of florists, chefs, classic rock DJs and other good ol' American jobs.

In all other ways, I think the fact that we spend $24,000 per wedding is a waste. But, hey, all that money spent on horse drawn carriages and fancy shoes bolsters the state economy. If we need to rely on the gays to help us marry our way out of recession, I say: Extravagant wedding dresses for all!